18 October 2015
I have said it over and over again, that money is not a great motivator. Whilst it is still the number one in the list that companies resort to thinking they will get a quick win, money and big bonuses do not guarantee great results. (A good reference to this is in Jim Collins’ books Good to great where he talks about Level 5 leaders.)
So what therefore is the most motivating factor that drives individuals and teams?
Thats a great question and one that is impossible to answer. The reason being is that everyone is motivated by different things and therefore you have to get to know who you are managing if you truly are going to motivate them to the highest level.
People are much more like to be receptive to your suggestions if you are genuinely interested in them, so the first thing I’d do if I were you and you are looking to manage and motivate a big group of people is to get to know each and every one of your team individually.
This is actually the fun part and the one area that most leaders miss out. This rapport is invaluable yet too many leaders think its far more fun to stand up in front of your troops and rally their support, however do not underestimate the increased power created from that personal bond, called loyalty.
Don’t get me wrong, people might need money, for something important in their life and therefore this can stimulate massive growth, but its ultimately the thing they are trying to achieve which inspires them. People find it a great deal easier to focus on something tangible.
The other important factor that people miss out on is feedback. I remember in about 2001 hearing someone say “feedback is the food of champions” yet how often do you really feed back to the people in your team.
Another great saying that resonates with me is “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.” This is a seriously important part of management and its as crucial to the individuals you are managing, they know where they are, as it is to the person in charge, knowing to the nearest decimal point where they are in the bigger picture.
Can you see a common theme beginning to shine through?
If you think about it, feedback and measuring are a great deal easier if you know the person you are managing intimately.
Once you have built that rapport people are much more likely to go the extra mile too. Its easy to assume that 2 people on identical pay are going to out put the same amount of effort and work, but it never works out like that.
A small team working well together can do the work of a much larger team who are just coasting.
Motivation is the most important ingredient if you are going to be successful. Learning what turns people off and what inspires others, is the missing piece to the jigsaw.
So number one, I believe that people need to feel valued, so if you give someone a grotty environment to work in, don’t expect them to consider you as the next visionary! Secondly what’s the big picture? I believe you need a compelling message to get everyone excited about if you are going to get your team out of the starting blocks and full steam ahead. When times have been difficult at UKFast rallying the troops to a cause is the single most important thing we have ever done. Once people get behind the business and they have a reason to push harder, they invariably do.
Listening to Alex Ferguson’s interview on TV last week, it was interesting to hear how he got rid of Roy Keane when he’d said some things about his fellow players and the club. His inability to suffer fools makes him someone that people respect and also less likely to mess around.
To negate the need of getting rid of lots of people, we spend a great deal of effort and resource earlier on in the recruitment process. Employing the wrong people is costly and disruptive. If you are measuring and managing people, if you find someone sticking out like a sore thumb, give them a chance to improve, but if they refuse, part company.
We constantly move things around to keep things fresh and grow new talent and business leaders.
People also don’t like working with weak individuals who are not bought in to the big picture, so recruiting the right people is essential. Never hurry the process. Each time I have done this, outsourcing it at times, we have messed up!
If you are lucky enough to find yourself in a management position or leading a team, its great fun and take the responsibility seriously. If you are able to motivate the people under your wing, you will free up time, speed up the administration and evolve quicker as people will be enjoying their day to day roles more.
Management and motivating is the most fun you can have in business. Getting a group of people to out perform previous weeks or competitors has to be one of the most rewarding career responsibilities you can perform. What I love about it most, is that we are all continuously presented with new challenges daily. You will find yourself growing towards the people who you are able to count on and you start to avoid the people who make heavy weather of the slightest things.
So if you are managing a business, or a department, get amongst your troops. Take them on holiday with you, show that you care and demonstrate just how important they are. Most of all if they slow down or mess up, be there to remind them of how great they can be and have been in the past.