Surround yourself with people who are better than you and encourage them to succeed.
What if I were to tell you most people think of money as a motivator. Would you agree? I will tell you, in the beginning I thought it was, but, the older and more experienced I became, I realized it wasn’t. Because if it was, why would people in the non-profit field be so highly motivated to care for other human beings? What drives is not the money. We are driven by a vision and the visualization of success. We have moved away from dream-based management and we lack visualization. There are ways to motivate by your own example. If your workers are working on a Saturday, you have to be there. If your people are working overtime, do not bother them, but be there and be visible.
Incentives. There have been many books written on creative incentive programs. Ask people how they are motivated by incentives. Is it trips, bonuses? You want the incentive plan to be long-term. If you made a goal you thought was a challenge in a given year, don’t fall into the trap of making the next goal unattainable. Be sure they receive a dose of success. Changing their goals every year because they have accomplished them is not appropriate behavior as a leader. If the goal was too easy, it serves as a form of de-motivation.
Personal discussions are still one of the best ways to recognize a job well done. Your colleagues like to hear praise directly from you. They like to see your face and hear your voice. One example, broadcast it on the office intercom. I may get on and announce, “I want to take a moment to congratulate Brian for the tremendous job he did on the project we worked on in Michigan. Because of his hard work, we were very successful in landing a client.” All it took was pressing one button and the message went to all the employees. I always end with, “Please join me in congratulating Brian for a job well done.”
As leaders, we must attempt to motivate all employees. Do we have channels available to monitor the successes of our colleagues? Do we neglect their accomplishments if the achievement is not important to our goals? Do we try to “top” their achievements with our own? Whether it is our children or our colleagues, we must recognize their achievements, great or small.
The recognition of colleagues is a leader’s major role. One Christmas I sent a letter to the children of the sales team. I relayed my appreciation for their parents’ accomplishments. I expressed my pride in their parents. I placed a gift certificate for a restaurant in with the letter that read, “You can take Mom and Dad out to dinner for Christmas with this.” These small gestures make a big difference as well as lift a person’s spirits. Remember, never have a system in place that beats them up to the same degree it rewards them.
The recognition of success must always be greater than the discussion of failure.
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