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Many people think that motivation is somehow a mystery. It's not. Others think it's as simple as giving people tangible things they desire, like money or maybe gift cards. That too, is overly simplistic. In fact, the research on motivation is pretty clear. What works best is not money or similar tangible incentives. Believe it or not, sometimes those can be seen as bribes instead of thank yous. What your team really wants doesn't cost a penny. The key to motivation won't break your budget. That's because motivation is more about behaviors and your understanding of relationships instead of things you give people.
Here are four great examples of behaviors that can build motivation in your team. First, be sure to offer great clarity in terms of performance expectations. This is part of one of my favorite motivation rules. Always reduce ambiguity. When communicating in any way, strive to add clarity not ambiguity. Do this by repeating yourself, asking them to repeat back to you, and allowing time for questions. When they walk away, if they're unsure of expectations, they will become frustrated and lose motivation.
Next, always do what you say you will do. To motivate others, they must trust you, and nothing explains the foundation of trust better than walking the talk. When your team sees you consistently do, that which you said you would do, they will feel much more obliged to do the same. Third, make sure you give employees voice. Voice refers to genuine input on decisions. When your team believes they're your partners, they experience motivation. If they feel simply dictated to, they'll detach, and motivation will suffer.
I'm not naive. I know there's limited time everyday to fully collaborate with the team. But for the most important decisions, take the time to talk with them in a consultative fashion. When they feel they've honestly been heard, they will feel motivated to back your decisions with much more conviction. Finally, consult with real people, not human resources. Take the time to see each team member as a real person, with the state interest and talents. When you can easily address their hobbies or even their family member's names in conversation, they'll notice.
And as a result, they'll feel part of a team that matters. They'll be more motivated. Motivation isn't a mystery. It does require however, you to move beyond thinking about money. Instead follow these tips. You'll start to see that motivation isn't about giving people things. It's about understanding individuals, and the ingredients of great relationships.
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