Why does anybody do ANYTHING? Well, the simple answer is that people do things because they want to. This also includes doing something to avoid the consequences of NOT doing it. Motivation is literally the motive that moves you towards something (desire/goal) or away from something (fear/problem).
As business leaders, we might often ponder on how we could motivate our people more: motivate them to be more productive, more loyal, more efficient; more, well… MOTIVATED!
But, when it comes to people, you can’t forcibly motivate someone – however, you can tap into their existing self-motivations. This is why it’s so important to get to know your team members on an individual basis.
According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, at a physiological level, we are driven to breathe, drink and eat because of the discomfort that a lack of oxygen, water and food create in us. Shelter, warmth and safety are next on our ladder, followed by a desire to belong to a group, tribe or family. Only once all this is in place can we work on the more esoteric elements like self-respect, accomplishment, status, recognition, and autonomy. And it is largely in this latter category that business owners and leaders can tap into the motivation of their staff.
But to be clear, as Maslow’s model suggests, all the expected needs must be in place before higher levels of motivation can occur. Needs like safe and comfortable working conditions; suitable equipment to do the job; appropriate salary; good relationships with teammates and managers; apparent job security. Maybe the list should now include “new norm” factors –such as feeling safe at work, having the appropriate PPE to operate without the fear of coming to harm, or feeling reassured that the bosses are leading by example and investing in protocols and measures to protect the staff accordingly. Let’s be clear – an absence of these ‘hygiene’ factors is de-motivational, so at the very least having all the basic elements in place creates a foundation for satisfaction – just think of these factors as the ‘minimum operating requirements’ a business must attain to provide an environment for people to be energised. However, once the hygiene factors are in place, let the motivation begin!
According to the psychologist, Frederick Herzberg, these are the factors to address motivation:
- Achievement: generating pride in the job;
- Recognition: employees are motivated by praise and recognition;
- The work itself: must be interesting, varied, and provide enough of a challenge to maintain employees’ high level attention;
- Responsibility: individuals who ‘own’ their work hold themselves accountable and don’t feel micromanaged;
- Advancement: having a clear promotional pathway;
- Growth: the opportunity to learn new skills.
It’s important to understand what motivates others but equally important to take this time to re-ascertain what gets you motivated in the morning? After all – you need to motivate yourself first in order to inspire the same in others.