The Quick Hack to Motivating People
Have you ever had a situation where a boss or someone you were helping tried to motivate you buy telling you repeatedly what’s not working or where you’re failing? Did you find it helpful…….. or distracting? For most people, it falls under the realm of distracting. Motivation is most effective when it is focused on positive results achieved and desired. Just as research has shown that positive reinforcement is much more effective that negative reinforcement.
When the current performance level is not getting the results you want, it’s important to ask for and receive new behaviors and commitment. As a leader, what you usually want is for your group to do what is necessary to produce the desired results. That means you want them to innovate, adjust, add skills, etc., until the desired result is achieved. You’ve probably noticed most people do not learn well when they are unhappy, stressed or feel attacked. They also do not innovate much in those mental states. Another challenge is change. People for the most part do not like change. However, they accept change much more readily when it is presented as being in their best interests, instead in the interests of another who is not actually changing.
The best way to ask for and get change, innovation and have people adding skills and using different behaviors is to present them with the facts (needed outcomes and required activities). Attach those facts to the goals the group is pursuing and attach the facts to each individual’s personal goals—what they are after. People do not like or often understand the need for change but they will do it more readily for their own benefit than that of anyone or anything else. We all ask ourselves, “what’s in it for me”, before we do anything. Nothing motivates an individual or a group as quickly as showing them how they are working toward and achieving their own goals. When we as a leader, attach theirs goals to “ours”, everyone works harder and smarter to get the desired results for themselves and the organization.
Leaders who say things like, “we don’t have enough of this or we’ve spent this and had no achievement or we’ve done all of that for nothing”. They do not focus on moving forward, fearless and bold. They focus us on looking backward trying to understand “where we went wrong, why it didn’t work, how can we fix it?” Many people will tell you to look backwards and analyze what you did wrong to avoid the same mistakes going forward. However, does it take more time to look backwards and analyze everything you’ve done not to get the result or use that time to devise a sound and workable plan to get the exact results you are looking for? Yes we want to learn from the past but not relive it in every detail. We want to quickly take the lessons learned and apply them to our forward focus and momentum. We only tend to do that as people when we are emotionally feeling positive and motivated.
Another mistake often made by leaders when they are telling you what is not working, is that they also tend to make you feel it’s your fault. Often the ones they are speaking to are the ones who did the actual work, so in their mind, who else could they be blaming? It’s more effective if you talk about what the actual goals are and ask for suggested ways and ideas on how “we” can possibly achieve our goals. Even if you get people to admit we need to research and get their commitment to do so and report back, now we are moving forward again. At least now we are looking forward to the cure not backward at the disease.
Research shows and everyone knows, the best way to get anything out of people is to get them to voluntarily give it. Some people will work very hard for others if they are paid well. However, most people still work a lot better for themselves than they ever will for anyone else. We often think we are going to work for the money we are paid. The truth is that money is just a catalyst. What we are after is that sail boat, log cabin, college education etc. Money will buy the things we want but it is not what we are actually after. When leaders show us how the path we are on at work is moving us ever closer to the actual things we each want out of life, we work that much harder. We will always work harder for us than we will for another. As a leader don’t fight human emotions, we use them to create success for us as individuals and the company as a whole. By attaching their goals to the organization’s goals and always using a positive focus and reinforcement instead of negative reinforcement to motivate, we easily get people to strive for the required and desired goals!
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Happy leading and all the success be yours!