Podiem Expert Insight

At a Raise Your Game’ event, organised by Podiem, three-time Paralympics Gold Medallist, Michael McKillop, spoke about the drive and determination that keeps him focused towards achieving his goals. His motivation and determination to succeed is unquestionable and it got us thinking about how business leaders can motivate their people to make champion efforts in their organisations.

Business leaders want teams of people who are focused, committed, creative and productive. Teams will only perform in this way if their leader can motivate them effectively. Good leadership, therefore, demands the ability to motivate people. 

So How do I Motivate My Staff?
The first step is to realise that while money is important, it is not the only, or even the best motivator. The second is to be aware of the need to understand individual differences in motivation i.e. different employees will be motivated by different things. Motivational techniques should bring out the best in people, which means they should build on their individual strengths and minimise their weaknesses. Leaders must be able to identify these individual strengths and weaknesses and the appropriate motivational techniques for each person as an individual. So what are typical motivational techniques?

Motivational Techniques

• Provide regular, good quality, relevant training. If you want your employees to perform well, you must give them the tools to do so.  Training is never finished, so this applies to even your longest serving and most experienced staff. Michael is an accomplished athlete, who has won the ultimate prize, but he never stops training and is always looking for new and better ways to develop his own abilities. 

• Recognise when your employees have achieved something. Your recognition is appreciation for that achievement. 

• Praise on the spot. When there is a reason to praise someone, don’t put it off! This can take the form of a simple ‘well done’, or a round of applause at a team meeting. 

• Provide immediate consequences. Rewards that come at the end of a project are often too late to provide lasting change.    

• Different rewards will appeal to different people - you need to identify which rewards will motivate individuals. Rewards might include paid days off, gift vouchers or rewards which staff can share with their families.

• Provide productive and challenging work.  In order to retain the most motivated and talented staff, leaders must provide interesting work. If the work is badly designed it will be hard to motivate people and the standard of output will fall. 
• Give employees leadership roles and additional responsibility to reward their performance. It is, however, important to match the correct member of staff to the correct leadership role.

• Provide a safe, clean and happy working environment. Staff who are consistently stressed or unhappy are never at their most productive.

• Create a team spirit. Offsite social events and team building exercises help team spirit and create a positive working environment.