December 15, 2011 Leadership, Management

Managers – Mediators of Motivation

Watch a manager who is hard at work. Chances are you’ll see a person struggling, intellectually and emotionally, to create a desire in others for goal-directed action.

Here’s the thing: people are motivated to do what they like doing. Everyone is motivated to do something. The slacker who sits across from you may also coach the State Champion little league team, 3rd year in a row, the result of vigorous practice every week.

Someone I respect as a leader very much told me the best advice he ever heard about motivation was a quote from former U.S. President Harry Truman. When asked how he managed to get people onto his team and fired up, he responded: “I find out what people want. Then I help them get it.”

Important message hereTake time to discover people’s interests and what is important to them. Just ask them. I haven’t met anyone yet who won’t talk about themselves and their interests. If you find that job security is paramount to one person, emphasize the relationship between new long-term projects and the potential security they provide.

Discuss your own interests and goals with your team members. Then, have a discussion about aligning personal goals with the business targets and related tasks. You’re not going to satisfy every desire; people understand that. But when people feel that their own input and interests are valued, they are more committed to the business results—and to each other.