There have been thousands of pages written about how to motivate your people. They range from doing contests to just saying thank-you. Although these are great things to read about my true belief is that we don’t really ever motivate anyone. Motivation comes from inside: we motivate ourselves.
Think about the first day someone comes to work for you. They’re excited, they’re turned on, and they can’t wait to get started. Then slowly it happens: They get a little less excited and your company doesn’t seem nearly as cool as it was when they first joined you.
We like to believe it’s them. If only they would get themselves motivated again then life would be good. Hey, if we throw in a new bonus plan that might help or what if we have an employee of the month contest? They might help with motivation.
Here’s the dirty little secret: People motivate themselves for their own reasons. We can set up ways for them to be motivated, but at the end of the day motivation comes from an individual. On the other hand there are things that we can do to kill internal motivation. Here are a 3 of my favorites.
Run contests for an employee of the month. This is a sure fire way to make sure the majority of your company gets turned off. Have one winner and everyone else is a loser. Any contest that has one winner is likely to make people care less about your company.
Have hard goals that are set by someone else. I’ve written many times that I think goals are silly and arbitrary. Most people I speak with about goals don’t like them. Not because they’re being measured, but because they believe they have no way of achieving goals that are set for them.
Instead think about setting a measurement that is in statistical control. Then have your people set up their own ways for improving their performance. Make it all about them and put them in total control of this project. It might not motivate them, but it will force them to be personally responsible for what happens in their job area.
Don’t listen to ideas your employees give you and try to take action. Most people think about how to make their job easier and or better. When we don’t listen to what the ideas are and do everything we can to help implement these ideas we are insuring that we don’t hear any more ideas.
When this happens employees just will care a little less. Once these actions start you will find that motivation goes down and people start looking to management for all the answers.
What are the things that you notice that provide negative motivation in your company? When you find them do you try to make them disappear?
One of the most important things in having people who are motivated is to hire the right person in the first place. When we coach people on hiring techniques we find using the system outlined in this case produces great results. Click on the button below to get our case study on hiring for unique abilities.