You ask a key question, the answer to which has been analysed in thousands of books, articles, and research documents. In short, the first step to motivating your employees is for you to be motivated yourself! It is important that you are enthusiastic and excited about what you do, for you to have a chance of instilling the same excitement into your team.
In terms of motivating everyone through the same process, unfortunately there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. All employees are different and have different motivations. You need to understand what motivates each individual first. Some are driven by financial gain, others by a sense of purpose, status, or continuous learning.
A good way for you to discover this about your employees is through regular and frequent feedback sessions. These don’t necessarily need to be formal and documented, in fact, they’re better kept as informal discussions revolving around specific tasks, goals, performance KPIs etc. Such feedback sessions serve a dual purpose – in addition to helping you understand what motivates each individual, they also help motivate them. People in general like to know how they’re progressing against certain goals. It provides a sense of security, acknowledgement and accomplishment.
Once you know what motivates each individual, you will need to apply slightly different tactics to each person or situation, whether through recognition and appreciation of one’s work, or simply giving the person an opportunity to continuously learn and develop their skills.
At the end of the day, motivating your team is probably the single most important role of a manager. It has been proven over and over again that motivated employees are more productive, creative, and ultimately more valuable to a company. So as a manager, focus on your motivational skills. It will pay back dividends.
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