Uncover the Motivations of Your Team

Apr 23, 2019

Motivating Your Team

The best leaders understand the absence of motivation is disengagement. Think about that for a minute. If you have an employee who is motivated by individual recognition but you never issue recognition when they have performed well, over time that employee will start to resent you. In their mind, it doesn’t seem to matter whether or not they excel because they will never receive the appreciation they desire.

When you are not motivating your employees, you are draining energy from them. As a leader it is your job to bring energy to the team. Consequences of taking energy from your team include:

  • Turnover
  • Lack of Employee Engagement and Satisfaction
  • Undesirable Outcomes and Results
  • Damage to Trust and Communication

Learning What Motivates Your Team Is Actually Pretty Simple

The key to motivating your team is to understand what motivates each individual person. It’s important to realize that while you may have some employees with similar driving forces, most people have their own individual values. Understanding the unique motivators of each team member is what sets average managers apart from outstanding leaders.

The learning process is incredibly simple: the best way to find out what motivates each person is to simply ask them.

  1. Set up a one-to-one meeting with each person and ask them to give you their top three motivators.
    1. Some examples of common values are:
      1. “Individual Recognition”
      2. “A Sense of Duty”- being viewed by the boss or team as someone who is reliable and dependable
      3. “I Value Your Opinion”- soliciting input and feeling like they have a voice
  2. Observe the behaviors, actions, and attitudes that follow after you’ve hit on a person’s core motivator. Are these behaviors, actions, and attitudes in line with your performance expectations of the individual? Do they positively impact the team as a whole?
  3. Look for contradictory behaviors in your direct reports.
    1. For example: If the employee told you they were motivated by being part of a team, but you’ve observed they behave in a way that shows they want to take all of the credit, this is a contradictory behavior. The true core motivator is manifested in the actions, not the words. This employee’s behavior indicates they actually prefer individual recognition instead of team orientation. To be more accurate about what motivates your people, observe them for any contradictory behavior. Focus more on what they do rather than what they say they will do.

Do motivations change over time?

Our core motivators are persistent over time however, life-stage changes can alter people’s core motivators. A good example of this is having a child. Being a new parent requires different responsibilities that can alter individual values.

This is why it’s a best practice for leaders to have consistent one-to-one conversations with their direct reports to learn what’s going on in their lives that could change or impact their motivational drive.

If you need help understanding what drives the people on your team, ZERORISK HR offers a Team Directory Report that outlines the individual motivators of each of your direct reports. This human capital tool gives you tips on how to reduce defensiveness and have critical conversations with each person based on their unique motivators. The Team Directory Report also outlines the motivations of the team leader and how they compare to each direct report.

Contact us today to learn more about the ZERORISK Team Directory Report.

ZERORISK helps organizations build great cultures by identifying, developing, and retaining top talent. The ZERORISK Hiring System blends a revolutionary behavioral science with state-of-the-art technology to reduce unwanted turnover and improve employee performance. For more information contact us at (800) 827-5991.

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