Motivating employees has changed significantly in the past few years. It has moved beyond just a financial reward; although that is nice too. The leaders of today are aware that they need to step up their game beyond just bonuses and 5-year pins.
On the other side of the coin, many employees have expressed their concerns about leadership in their work environments. The top complaints have been reported as:
- Not recognizing employees’ achievements, or taking credit for others’ ideas
- Not providing clear directions and not offering constructive criticism
- Not having time to meet with employees or refusing to speak to employees on phone or in person
- Not dealing with specific issues with other employees
- Not knowing employees’ names or anything about their lives outside of work
Some would say it is the difference between a boss and a leader. Invested leaders know they need to take time to cultivate relationships with their staff. They need to take the time to build trust and learn how to best motivate their employees.
Here’s the scenario, two novice mountain climbers start their journey up an exciting new mountain trail. Their task is focus on the climb and reach the top of the summit. Climber A is supported by peers and mentors, he has the proper equipment for the climb and was provided a clear map of the best trail to take to complete his journey. Climber A feels prepared and understand the challenges he may face. Climber B has very little support, he was told he was on his own for the journey. He has no clue what to expect and is not prepared, he isn’t dressed properly and has no map to guide him along. Climber B feels very unequipped for the journey, he is faced with challenges continuously along the trail. Moving forward Climber A can hear the encouragement of their peers to continue, which motivates them to push through and achieve, reaching the summit and their final goal. Climber B is completely lost in the mountain, takes the wrong trail. He ends up giving up and heading back down the mountain. Which of the 2 climbers is supported by a leader? What are the outcomes? Which climber is more motivated to achieve the best result? With support, guidance and clear understanding Climber A is able to do the work and achieve their goals not only for themselves but for the team.
As a leader how can you ensure you have a “Climber A”? It first starts with you. Be a leader and not just a boss.
- Provide praise by voicing your appreciation for the employee’s effort. “I appreciate the way you……”
- Thank your staff in public and personally – recognition in a newsletter or on social media, speak to them in the parking lot or hallway about how well they are doing.
- Leaders aren’t always right – be open to others’ ideas and acknowledge them for the idea, ask their opinion on things and be open to their suggestions
- Leaders keep their staff members informed – Provide your employees with any changes being made. It is easier to accept change if you know about it ahead of time.
- Don’t wait for the yearly performance review to give feedback. Some generations(millennials) want more feedback than other generations (Gen X). Provide feedback when you see an opening or moment.
- Be honest about your mistakes you have overcome as a leader. Being transparent about your journey and the mishaps along, the way, it may help your employees know you are actually a human.
- Know your employees – Learn their names, invest the time in them and they will do they same for you.
At the end of the day: Leaders need to be there to support, direct and encourage their team. That way their employees seek challenges, achieve goals, feel valued and set targets, and reach the summit.
Lora Hay – Registered Professional Recruiter
Harvard Business Review – https://hbr.org/2015/06/the-top-complaints-from-employees-about-their-leaders?ab=at_art_art_1x1
Linkedin – https://hbr.org/2017/06/motivating-employees-is-not-about-carrots-or-sticks?utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=hbr&utm_source=LinkedIn&tpcc=orgsocial_edit