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A Manager’s Guide to Employee Motivation

A Manager's Guide to Employee Motivation

A manager’s responsibility is to motivate employees to do their best work every time. Unfortunately, too many managers today actually deter their employees from doing a quality job every time by missing the mark when it comes to helping their employees set goals. Many managers also struggle with using proper listening skills, putting proper incentives in place, and many other important aspects of motivating employees to always put forth their best work. Any manager that’s concerned about whether or not their ability to motivate their employees is at a high level should take a look at some of these techniques to incorporate into their management style.

Learn About Employee Satisfaction

People often talk about the importance of employee satisfaction when trying to retain employees, especially those that are already high performers. But what managers should also be aware of is the degree to which employee satisfaction can affect performance. At best, low employee satisfaction will result in poor retention rates and apathy in the employees who stay around even though they’re unhappy with their jobs. But the effects of low employee satisfaction run a lot deeper.

When people are dissatisfied with their job, they’re less likely to feel motivated to go the extra mile. In fact, they might even begin to perform even worse because they don’t feel like they can do anything positive or that the company doesn’t appreciate their efforts anyways. In contrast, when employees are happy, their productivity increases by about 12%.

Proper Listening Skills

No one likes to feel like their being ignored, and if a manager’s listening skills aren’t up to snuff, employees will likely begin to feel like the manager doesn’t care, isn’t interested in their ideas, or simply lacks the ability to pull their focus away from their other problems long enough to listen to what they have to offer.

People who know that their manager isn’t listening will usually stop trying to speak up even if they have a good idea that they think could help with a project or resolve a long-running problem within the organization.

There’s really no reason to feel motivated, and so they’ll stop trying. On the other hand, managers who are engaged, ask questions that show that you’re listening and value what their employee has to say, and remain engaged in the conversation will notice that their employees continue to come up with ways to help the company because they’ll know that they can make a difference.

Goal Setting

Having direction is important for motivation, and goal setting is one of the best ways to help people understand what they’re trying to accomplish, why they’re trying to accomplish it, and how they can know when they’ve accomplished it.

When setting goals, the manager will have a hand in what goals are set because they’ll better understand what needs to be accomplished within the organization. The manager has a perspective that the employee doesn’t.

Namely, the manager understands the employee’s strengths and weaknesses from a different perspective. But managers should also try to involve employees in the process of making goals. When people have a hand in making their own goals, they feel more motivated to actually follow through on them.

Setting Proper Incentives

No one likes to be threatened with punishment, and managers who try to get people to work through punishment tactics will find that people simply work harder to not get caught doing things they know they’re not supposed to do.

Employees might also start stealing credit for each other’s work. Setting up the proper incentives is important because it lets people attempt to achieve something positive. But when setting up incentives, have them be appropriate for what kind of motivation that you’re trying to create. Incentives tie in closely with goals, with incentives being the prize when the goal is completed.

Generally, incentives work best when they’re tied with goals that are somewhat large but not so big that they seem unachievable. Be in tune with what kinds of incentives the team or specific team members will want the most.

For instance, having a goal with an incentive attached to it that you want to achieve in six months is better than a year-long goal for many people. Additionally, think about whether your team is going to be more motivated by something social, such as a party, or a monetary reward. All of these things can be tracked using employee engagement software.

When managers are interested in finding better ways to motivate their employees, they should take a look at these tips and incorporate one or two of them into their management style within the next week. One of the biggest jobs of a manager is to motivate employees by helping them view themselves as agential. When employees view themselves as capable of making positive change, they’re more likely to take responsibility in all aspects of their jobs and go above and beyond for the company.

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