Are you floating your people’s boat?


Are we sometimes motivating with a one size fits all approach or do we take the time to find out what turns one person on and another off completely?

The term – ‘a public thank you goes a long way’ has been muted for years but that might work for Angela in the Accounts Department but not necessarily Andrew in the IT Department who find the whole ‘public’ element totally humiliating.

Second guessing what motivates your people is probably the best way of de-motivating them but taking the time to find out what makes them want to come to work everyday and give it their all, can reap dividends.

The most common misconception is that pay and reward is the biggest motivation – research has told us time and time again that this is not necessarily and please note, not necessarily, the biggest motivator.  In fact, interesting work, recognition for good work and a feeling of involvement score a lot higher in the league for motivation.

However, there are several other factors that may ensure that you have happy and motivated individuals within your team. You may have those who are ambitious and looking for a clear career path, those who like working in a funky environment, and those who would like you to take an interest in their lives outside of work but basically you will never know unless you keep regular dialogue with the individual rather than going for a unilateral approach.

There are two types of motivation, the first type we generate internally e.g. the feeling of satisfaction when we have completed a challenging job –intrinsic motivation.

The second type of motivation is gained by the influence of others e.g. our line manager praising our accomplishments – extrinsic motivation.

Research has shown that the personality types in the world of customer service are more likely to motivated by extrinsic motivation – they thrive on positive feedback from customers, peers and of course, their manager. But again, this is not a one size fits all theory.

So, I recommend taking the time to find out what motivates each individual team member. You can do this by observing them at work, listening to what they say and how they say it, asking them questions and, importantly, recognising and being aware of your own feelings about how well someone is working and the reasons why.