Wisdom//

The Secret to Success is Knowing What Motivates Your Team

It's about working smarter, not harder.

Antonov Roman/ Shutterstock
Antonov Roman/ Shutterstock

ByCatherine Plano, Executive Mindset Coach, Transformational Leadership Facilitator, Leadership and Culture Consultant

Nobody can motivate you unless you are already motivated in some way.

When you’re motivated, the energy or drive comes from inside of you. So, the good news is that you have control. The bad news is that there are no more excuses. You have to get off your butt and find some inspiration.

Don’t get me wrong: People can inspire you, for sure. But when it comes to motivation, it’s a whole new kettle of fish. Once you are able to tap into what drives you…voila! Like magic, you’ll find the secret to getting motivated.

There are four distinct ways we can get motivated. This is not just important for us as individuals, but also critical if you lead a team.

[Related: Want to Be a Better Manager? Sweat the Small Stuff]

Motivator #1: Excuses don’t get results.

Do you love to have a check list or a to-do list? A list of tasks that you can cross off one-by-one because you get your biggest kick out of achieving all of your objectives?

This kind of motivational style tends to focus on the results first. Quite often these kinds of individuals will ask: “What do I need to do?” And once they’ve got the list, they are super-fast and all about action.

Because it’s all about getting the job done for these individuals, they can come across a little bit closed and impatient, and get to the point where they seem a little too direct when communicating. They don’t mean to – it’s just their way of working. They are task-focused and the path to success is taking massive determined actions.

The downside of all this action is that when we run at the speed of light and don’t take a step back to breathe, we can experience brain overload. It’s important to take breaks to get the job done well.

Motivator #2: Learning to love the process.

Another group of individuals love facts, data, and strategy. They like to take their time to understand the status quo before making a decision, and they want to be sure they have all the information at-hand and broken down into smaller chunks so they can understand and communicate it in their own way. For these people, things have to make sense to them before they understand how they’re going to work out.

It’s important not to rush these detailed, processed individuals because they like to understand the pros and cons to every situation. In doing so, they can see other alternatives or options in any scenario, giving better insight into any situation at-hand.

Sometimes these individuals are considered lazy, but it’s quite the opposite. Taking time and using their own brain power to understand the picture doesn’t make them lazy. They are quite different from the task-driven individual who jumps into a task at hand without thinking too much about it because they just want the job done.

Motivator #3: The best relationships usually begin unexpectedly.

Another motivational style is “people,” believe it or not. Some individuals are driven by relationships and it’s all about the team, family, group, or community. Communication and connections are key drivers for this style.

These individuals are warm, empathetic, and sensitive, and they are very motivated by those around them. You want these kinds of individuals in your team if you deal with customers, because they are natural at building strong relationships.

These are the people who are genuinely interested in what you got up to over the weekend. They’re social and like to be surrounded by people. More than that, they need people and are very much motivated by working with others. If you want to quickly get this individual disengaged, just put them on a project or task working on their own, and watch the demotivation show up in their body language as if they just had a swig of grappa.

The best way to motivate individuals that are motivated by people is to encourage connection – buddy them up with a team member or someone for them to lean on and work with.

[Related: Lessons Learned From Leading a Women’s Group for Ten Years]

Motivator #4: There is a way to do it better and you will find it.

Finally, there are those who are motivated by innovation, ideas, and concepts. These individuals are what I like to call creative geniuses, because they always come up with some grand design or new way of working.

The fact of the matter is they just seem to function at a “higher vibration.” They appear to have their head in the clouds. They can appear disinterested, but they’re not – they’re just highly-charged, and need to be stimulated. Often, they can create this stimulation themselves, in their heads, and that’s why they appear distracted and disengaged – but you can bet this is the team member who has brilliant out-of-the-box ideas.

These people are always looking for what’s new on the market or the next new gadget they can get their hands on. They have the ability to see change as an opportunity. They love variety, and they are forward thinkers, always thinking ahead of time. You will find a lot of entrepreneurs with this motivational style.

The best way to motivate these individuals is to let them come up with the ideas and concepts. You can give them a framework or a strategy and then ask them how they are going to deliver it. Not only does this get their juices flowing, but because of their creative drive, they will come up with theories that you might never otherwise tap into.

Together we have a unique blend of systems.

The challenge, of course, is putting it all together.

Imagine an action-orientated individual who says “Just tell me what I need to do” so they can get on with it and get it done, working with a process individual who says “I need to understand the steps before I can make a decision.”

Recipe for disaster? You betcha!

Or, the individual who is motivated by people, for whom communicating with people and building relationships are key motivators, working with the individual who is all about action and has no time for a chat.

What about the individual, driven by innovation, ideas, and concepts, working with someone who needs to process and think carefully, considering the pros and cons, and won’t make any decisions until they’ve considered all possible outcomes and scenarios?

It’s easy to see how small conflicts arise, and how some people just don’t feel valued.

When you’re pulling together teams, it’s important to understand working styles and motivators – otherwise, the personalities at play can derail a project without meaning to, through a genuine desire to get the job done in the best way they know how.

It’s not easy and there is no bullet-proof formula, but you can help people to understand each other and their drivers. If you as the leader are aware of the motivational forces at play, you can then use these strengths to build an incredible, highly-functioning team where people thrive and rarely drop the ball.

[Related: You Can’t Be Well-Rounded in Isolation]

Originally published on Ellevate.

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