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Why Leaders Need To Embrace Employee Motivation

*As originally seen on Forbes.com

 

How do we consistently get team members who say ‘I love my job, I trust my leader and l’m ready to rock today!’?

According to Gallup, the purpose of performance management is to improve quality of work, productivity and other business outcomes, but traditional approaches have consistently fallen short.

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Let’s look at Gallup’s findings:

  • Only 2 in 10 employees strongly agree that their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work.
  • 30% of employees strongly agree that their manager involves them in goal setting.
  • Employees whose managers involve them in goal setting are 3.6x more likely than other employees to be engaged.
  • 21% of employees strongly agree they have performance metrics that are within their control.
  • 14% of employees strongly agree that the performance reviews they receive inspire them to improve.
  • 26% of employees strongly agree that the feedback they receive helps them to do their work better.

The result? Gallup estimates the cost of poor management and lost productivity from employees in the U.S. who are not engaged or actively disengaged to be between $960 billion and $1.2 trillion per year. Wow! What steps do leaders need to take to motivate their employees?

What Employees Really Want

The workplace is evolving and shifting. As leaders, we need to realize that the wants and needs of our employees are changing. We saw this when we learned how to create a culture where Millennials and members of Generation Z can thrive.

The key to inspiring maximum performance from your team is not scoring them and offering standardized feedback based on their score. Instead, use a process that creates intrinsic motivation and benefits both the team member and the company.

Performance Motivation Is Key

Empowerment and motivation happen when people solve their own problems, and create their own aspirations and expectations. That’s why the outcome frame tool is a powerful first step. It helps our team find out what they really want and how they know when they’ve got it. It generates clarity and insights. Helping our people focus on the outcome they want to create, not the problems in the way, activates their reward (pleasure) network. Once our team knows what they really want, it’s time to create an action plan to motivate team performance.

  1. Impact Descriptions – Not Job Descriptions
  2. Clear Needle Movers
  3. Individual Development Plans (IDPs)
  4. Performance Self-Evaluations

To see each of these factors discussed in detail, please see the infographic below and my previous blog Why Performance Management Is Dead And Performance Motivation Is Here To Stay. (insert performance motivation vs performance management infographic here)

When you implement the above action plan, your team will begin to shift. They will be motivated to do outstanding work because they know their role is part of something bigger. They will realize they are valued and that achieving their goals is essential to the success of their organization. More importantly, they will begin to trust their leaders.

Trust creates reliable environments. Enriched environments are more reliable. Reliable and enriched environments equal ROI.

 The result? Team members making more connections, solving problems faster, figuring things out faster and innovating better.

Share with us how shifting from performance management to performance motivation is impacting your organization.

 
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Featuring case studies and proven techniques, Power Your Tribe provides a set of powerful neuroscience-based tools to help managers identify emotions, release resistance, end isolation, focus on outcomes, and course-correct for continued success.

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5 Ways Great Leaders Make Work Meaningful For Employees

*As originally seen on Forbes.com

*As originally seen on Forbes.com

According to Harvard Business Review, “amazing bosses try to make work meaningful and enjoyable for employees. They’re most successful when they adhere to a few best practices.”

I agree with these best practices and would like to take each one step further and offer a tool that will help you leverage each rule.

Five “Rules” Best Bosses Follow

1. “Manage individuals, not just teams. When you’re under pressure, you can forget that employees have varying interests, abilities, goals, and styles of learning. But it’s important to understand what makes each person tick so that you can customize your interactions with them.”

Most of us react in predictable ways, have predictable patterns of behavior, and have predictable speech patterns. No wonder it’s so easy for people to peg us… and no wonder it can seem virtually impossible to get through to certain people.

Yet as a predictable leader, you compromise your ability to influence and to shift another’s behavior, which is often crucial to accelerate results, boost revenue, ensure sustainable growth. While a large part of influencing is about making people feel a sense of safety, belonging, and mattering, sometimes we need to bluntly lay out the facts. Being able to switch from one stance to the other is an immensely valuable leadership skill. (To discover what stance you default to, read this.)

2. “Go big on meaning. Inspire people with a vision, set challenging goals, and articulate a clear purpose. Don’t rely on incentives like bonuses, stock options, or raises.”

We’ve all done it. We’ve sat everybody down and explained. And wonder of wonders, almost nobody understood or acted upon our very informative explanation. “Why don’t they just listen?” we ask ourselves. “Why are they still doing X when clearly we have to learn to Y if we’re going to succeed?” And on it goes.

The fault is not in the strategy. And it’s not in the intelligence of your team. The problem is that they didn’t think of it themselves — they haven’t had that “aha” moment that would help them contribute their piece of the puzzle.

When people solve a problem for themselves they get a rush of neurotransmitters. They understand the “why.” And they get that by solving the puzzle themselves. (For more, read “The Evolution Of Employee Motivation Methods: Carrots, Sticks And Being Nice Aren’t Sustainable.”)

3. “Focus on feedback. Use regular (at least weekly) one-on-one conversations for coaching. Make the feedback clear, honest, and constructive.”

A well-orchestrated team depends on everyone doing their job, at the time they are supposed to do it, yielding the results they are supposed to yield. This is why we need consequences–they remind us that not keeping our commitments will carry repercussions.

4. “Don’t just talk — listen. Pose problems and challenges, and then ask questions to enlist the entire team in generating solutions.”

How is your company’s communication? Is it tight and efficient, aimed at driving results and increasing connection? Or does everyone talk a lot without saying anything that moves the needle?

The result? Meetings that are efficient, effective, and keep your team happy and executing with high accountability. Further, it’ll reduce B.S., frustration, and disengaged team members.

5. “Be consistent. Be open to new ideas in your management style, vision, expectations, and feedback. If change becomes necessary, acknowledge it quickly.”

Asking for feedback is a very powerful tool. One that can be successfully used to maximize engagement and growth. Just make sure you also plan and invest resources in the follow up.

The damage happens when a leader asks for feedback and then either does nothing to improve him or herself or attempts to identify the source of criticism and punish it. Persecuting someone who took a risk to respond to your request is an obvious trust breaker, but why is doing nothing so bad?

The Result?

You will have a culture where even in the face of change and growth, your team is focused and communicate clearly and directly. Your tribe will be unusually accountable to their promises and powerfully influential. And each member will have the energy and enthusiasm to do what needs to be done – consistently.

The Evolution Of Employee Motivation Methods: Carrots, Sticks And Being Nice Aren’t Sustainable

We’ve all done it. We’ve sat everybody down and explained. And wonder of wonders, almost nobody understood or acted upon our very informative explanation.

“Why don’t they just listen?” we ask ourselves. “Why are they still doing X when clearly we have to learn to Y if we’re going to succeed?” And on it goes.

The fault is not in the strategy. And it’s not in the intelligence of your team. The problem is that they didn’t think of it themselves — they haven’t had that “aha” moment that would help them contribute their piece of the puzzle.

When people solve a problem for themselves they get a rush of neurotransmitters. They understand the “why.” And they get that by solving the puzzle themselves.

STI Forbes 1.24

What Research Tells Us About Leadership Style

In an age of accelerating change and the relentless market requirement for adaptation, “Command and Control” does not work. There’s too much power at the top, and an organization cannot move quickly enough. Team members’ creativity and problem solving ability is not engaged and decision-making bottlenecks are prevalent. This contributes to what we call Critter State.

David Rock and Jeffrey Schwartz’s research into how breakthroughs can be applied to make organizational transformation succeed show that:

Behaviorism does not work—the carrot and the stick (rewards and punishments) approach may work for a short time but it does not yield the intrinsic motivation that creates innovation and long term sustainable results. The carrot raises the anxiety level for non-performers (creates Critter State), while people who are already performing are not stretched. The stick focuses attention on behaviors that don’t work and on the situations that preceded them.

That attention is a waste, it doesn’t solve anything or move anyone forward–it just creates a negative spiral.

Even humanism is proving to not work very well. When managers are “too nice,” too personally involved with the problems of their people the leader often falls into the Rescuer role in the Tension Triangle. This ultimately disempowers people. Like the carrot and the stick approach, it also focuses too much attention on what is wrong rather than on how to solve the problem.

So What Works?

Empowerment and motivation happen when people solve their own problems, and create their own aspirations and expectations–that’s why the “outcome frame” tool is so powerful. Organizationally we want to have:

  • Inquiry over advocacy (use the Outcome Frame!)
  • Team strategy and problem solving meetings at every level–meet to do the work not to talk about the work
  • Creation of own goals and action plans

Have you ever had the kind of experience where there was just enough debate to create a shared understanding where everyone knows the agreed action plan–and how to cope with the inevitable curve balls? Things then proceed in a kind of flow state.

This empowered state of high level thinking and problem solving is called “Meta-cognition”. It’s when people ask themselves questions like “Why am I doing this?” This is a frontal lobe, “Smart State” brain activity. This is the state everything we are doing as leaders needs to lead to.

Following Up On The “Aha”

Change is hard. Our brains don’t like it. Change, whether logical or positive or not, registers as an “error message” in our brains and feels physically uncomfortable or even painful.

So the “a-ha” experience is not enough. There has to be systematic ways to trigger new behaviors if you want habits to change. There have to be systematic ways to focus attention on the desired behavior and goal.

Try This Exercise

So the question remains, how to encourage Meta-cognition now that we know how important it is.

Start small. Remember you are changing too. Pick something that your team needs to work on and you need everyone’s input. Now instead of trying to “save everyone time” by drafting the solution, getting people’s input in a forced, box-filling kind of way resulting in everyone leaving with a to-do list that they’ll have to fit into their already crammed schedules and then circulate to get more input and on it goes…and there will probably be yet another meeting because Joe wasn’t at the meeting and has a change…

Do it differently. Get everyone together to actually solve the issue. And have it done. Use some meetings to do the work, not talk about the work.

When having this kind of meeting use one computer (project the screen if you need to) and take turns “driving” (working the keyboard) and don’t stop until it’s complete. No one leaves until it’s done. No to-do lists, no need for accountability tracking…it’s done and everyone participated so you don’t have to send an e-mail around explaining anything either. If someone can’t be present they can e-mail their ideas on forehand, or participate virtually. It’s on them to find out the results of the meeting.

Once you’ve got the technique down, try it on something big. Like strategy. Working out the strategy at ground level helps people understand how their role fits into the big picture. They understand the Why.  They solve the big puzzle and a firework of neurotransmitters will go off in their brain as they see how their piece fits.

And that’s what we all want.

*As Seen On

Forbes