The Secret to Motivating Your Staff

Question: Tell me how to motivate my staff. Isn’t that something a good manager is supposed to do?

Alice Waagen says: No. No. No. You cannot motivate another person. Motivation is an internal state that each and every individual has or lacks based on numerous, personal conditions. What you can and must do as a leader in your organization is to create and foster those conditions that will positively support a person’s work. This results in them feeling motivated. There is no specific action or deed you can perform that will “motivate” a person.

So let’s look at the conditions you need to foster and grow.

If you’ve read any of my newsletters and articles, you know them already. To create and maintain a motivated workforce, you need to relentlessly and rigorously execute sound management practices such as:

1. Provide challenging work that allows staff to grow strengths and accomplish difficult goals.

2. Recognize and reward success every day, not just when major deliverables happen.

3. Treat everyone with respect.

4. Correct performance shortfalls. Provide negative feedback so folks can learn.

5. Communicate honesty, openly, and timely information that affects staff and their work.

In other words, stop focusing on the individuals and focus on the work climate. Create an environment that makes people want to come to work. Individual motivation will be the result of these efforts not a goal in itself.

Questions? Send Alice an email: