I’m often asked: “How can I motivate my people?” I get the impression  some supervisors think this is a difficult thing to do or they feel there must be some secret to it they are unaware of.  Some think it takes money.  While a raise can definitely motivate people, it’s usually short-lived. There are many other simple things we can do each day to create an environment that will allow our people to motivate themselves.  Here are a few tips.

  • Get to know your people. People are motivated by different things and the only way to know what motivates them is to talk to them.  It won’t take you long to figure it out and if you can’t, just ask them.   
  • Ask for their ideas and really LISTEN to what they say.  People feel important when you listen to them and ask for their thoughts.  Even if implementing their idea isn’t possible, you have an opportunity to explain why and encourage more ideas.
  • Show you are human and that you care about them.  It’s okay to let your people know that things bother you too.
  • Pitch in and help them when it makes sense.
  • Help your people reach their career and development goals whenever possible. 
  • Work hard to be the best leader you can be.  People want to work for someone who works hard, treats them fairly, is honest, deserves respect, keeps them informed, and is available to help them solve problems. 

Probably the easiest thing you can do is say THANKS to your people when they deserve it.  When you say thanks in a genuine way, it lets your people know you really understand how challenging their work is each day and that what they do makes a difference. We’ve all had times in our career when someone said THANKS and it really made your day.  I’d like to hear about one of your times.

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