Do you have the right tools to manage your “human resources?” If not then this article is for you! For starters, don’t think of yourself as someone managing human ‘resources,’ think of yourself as someone managing human ‘responses.’ If you are managing a team or if you have to get things done from others, you know that everyone is different and has different motivations. Knowing everyone and catering to the needs of different people is challenging since you have to work with a large variety of people. But there is good news – there are certain motivation strategies that apply to everyone. Using these strategies can provide you with the tools you need to influence people and get things done.
- Catch people doing the right things:
In his books, especially One Minute Manager, Ken Blanchard emphasizes “catching people doing the right things” as a tool to motivate people. But the sad news is that in many organizations, managers catch people doing the wrong things, and the good things remain unnoticed. The same can be said of our personal lives. When a child does something wrong, he gets spanked and when he is sitting quietly or cleaning his room, his parents might not notice it because it is something that is expected. Everyone has a desire to feel appreciated and if you can tap into this desire you will be able to influence people big time. The probability of people doing the right things increases as the behavior is appreciated. Use this tool right now by calling up your spouse and telling him/her how well you have been taken care off.
- Know people’s “BIG WHY”:
Appreciation is one of the tools to influence people’s behavior, but there are people who would connect with a bigger purpose while doing a task. There is a story of a monk who was traveling in the city when he saw two men laying bricks – one was happy and the other was depressed. The monk asked the man who was depressed, “What are you doing?” and the man replied, “I am laying bricks.” The monk then went to the man who was very happy doing the same task, and the man replied, “I am building the greatest castle in the city.” Both people were doing the same job, but one was motivated because he saw a purpose in his job. One way you can find what motivates people is by simply asking them what motivates them. Some may like serving people, others may like spreading happiness, others like to create innovative solutions, while some may be passionate about creating an experience for people. Several times, managers fail to have this discussion with their team members and hence miss out on what drives people at work. In his book The Big Why, Simon Sinek shares how organizations tap into the power of the big why and connect people’s work with a big vision. This is a must read if you would like to know more.
- Appeal to Intrinsic Motivation:
In the book Drive by Daniel Pink, the author gives examples of Wikipedia, Firefox, and Linux, which were created by people without any rewards. They are open source tools in which people contribute at their own will. It was their intrinsic drive to contribute that made them develop such tools and now these tools are accepted worldwide. Now imagine people in your organization working on a project simply because they have an intrinsic desire to contribute, without any reward! Yes, it’s possible. Daniel Pink shares 3 tools that you can use to fuel the intrinsic motivation of people. One of the tools shared in the book is autonomy. Give your employees the autonomy to change their job description within the set of guidelines. This will get them motivated because it is something that they have chosen. When you fuel the intrinsic motivation of people, you begin the process of transformation in the individual.
- Get people in a state of Flow:
When you have a look at the graph below you will see that there are two axes – the x-axis is skill and the y-axis is the level of challenge of a given task. If the skill of the individual is high and the challenge is low, then the individual will be bored of the job because it will not appeal to him. Humans are goal oriented and get motivated by something to look forward to. When you take away the very thing that people look forward to, you take the joy away from the work. On the other hand, if the challenge is high and skill is low, then it becomes taxing for the individual to persist. Only when there is a healthy balance of challenge and skill does the individual becomes motivated to stretch beyond capacity yet maintain similar levels of enthusiasm. This state in the graph is called “flow,” a term coined by M. Csikszentmihalyi. Flow, also known as the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does. When you help your employees get into a state of flow they begin to enjoy their work.
Last but not the least, motivating people is possible if you are willing to take the time to invest in people. Once we accept that everyone is unique, we can use different strokes for different folks. We at Focus would be more than excited to give a motivational key note seminar for your teams and share insights on “What Motivates People” at your next offsite, sales meet, or team get together. Write to us to know more.