How To Motivate Others & Achieve The Results You Want:
What Is Motivation?
If one were to answer that in one word, it would be drive. The single most important factor that helps us achieve our goals is motivation or drive. It is an energy-rich interest in getting a job done and achieving the ends set. Motivation is the little bit extra oomph in the effort that makes one person go the extra mile, while many others give up and retire without even trying.
It does not matter in what situation you apply this. Motivation is the key that makes the difference between winning and losing. Motivation plays an important role in everybody’s life, both in their personal and professional life.
So, what motivates us? Moreover, does the same factor motivate all and sundry? The answer to that is an emphatic no! Different people react to different stimuli. Even the same person will react differently to a given stimulus at different points of his or her life.
The other thing to note is that motivation is self-propelling. Once you achieve a set of goals, you will be motivated to set another set of goals, possibly more difficult as if you are challenging yourself or raising the bar. Or, there could be periods of lull when you are down and need a recharge of your batteries to get going again.
While motivation is generally considered for human beings, it is possible to also motivate an animal as well. Take the example of a dog. How do you teach it tricks? By rewarding it every time it fetches, begs or rolls over! What is this if not the very basic form of motivating?
How does one motivate students to do well in an exam? This can be intrinsic or extrinsic. It is intrinsic if the students believe that they are capable of acing an exam and thereby put in the required efforts.
If they happen to be into the subject that it is something of a passion and they are genuinely interested in accumulating more knowledge about the subject, then they are motivated to do a better job as well.
It could also be extrinsic motivation, if they are doing it because they know that they will be rewarded with a prize that they value if they get good scores. A teenager could be motivated to do well on his/her GRE or GMAT scores if he is keen to get away from family and live independently in some foreign university.
There are different kinds of motivation, and it works differently for different people. What may motivate one person may mean nothing for another. For instance, for a movie-lover, getting a free ticket for the latest James Cameron movie could be a great incentive. But that may mean nothing to a person who doesn’t have any interest in movies.
Motivation also changes with age. When we are younger, there are different things that motivate us. As we grow older, most of these things, such as new toys, do not mean anything to us. They cannot incite us to do any job in a better way.
However, our childhood motivations are replaced by new, more refined, ones. For a child, a Batman figure could be great motivation, but when he becomes a youth, maybe he wants a new bike. When he becomes an adult, maybe getting a new house is motivation. Or, maybe he just wants the Batman figure still, but that’s quite a different story!
Motivation can be need-based. Man is motivated by the need to remove physical discomfort and increase physical pleasure. According to Maslow’s theory of wants, humans have wants and desires that motivate and guide their behavior.
These needs follow a typical hierarchy with the basic ones being at the base of the triangle and then progressively getting more complex and sophisticated.
People move up the triangle as their needs get settled. So, beginning with wanting to satisfy your hunger, thirst, sleep and sexual needs, you move up to looking after your safety and security.
Only then are you motivated by love, friendship and relationships. After this comes the need for recognition and achievement and it is followed lastly by the need for self-actualization.
How Does Motivating Others Help Us?
When we are speaking of motivation, we need to realize one very important thing. Motivating someone doesn’t just help the motivated person to do better; it also helps other people who are associated with the person in some or the other way.
For instance, if your spouse is motivated into starting a new business, and if that business starts bearing fruit, then the entire family is benefited. Here, just one person is motivated, but that motivation has helped a whole family.
This can be extrapolated to larger scenarios. A motivated leader of a company could benefit the entire organization. A motivated president could benefit the entire country. A motivated freedom fighter could bring about sweeping changes for the betterment of society and the world at large.
Hence, motivating others is important to you. Especially if you are in some position of power and you deal with people all the time, then it becomes important for you to keep your people inspired. Only when they are inspired will they feel that they can do a good job for you and for the entire society or organization that you are a part of.
Motivating People In Real Terms
Motivating others is one of the chief challenges faced by leaders in the political and other arenas. Take the case of corporate leaders or chief executive officers. They are the people who head an organization and are in charge of its operations. They need to show results to their shareholders results in terms of sales, profits and the social good achieved by their respective enterprises.
But, the amount they can do by themselves is very limited. They therefore depend on their managers, subordinates and teams to get the job done and to meet the annual targets.
Here is where the task of motivation comes in. Left to their own devices most workers will just shy off. It is something of a joke in Kolkata, India that the babus or clerks take a break from their continuous sessions of tea to do some work. So, one of the most vital tasks of the CEO is to motivate his team to deliver the desired results. If you want people to work and to work together as a team to achieve results in a specific time frame you need to use many ways to motivate them. Successful motivation requires a combination of structure and incentives.
It also calls for communication, communication, and communication. It is no longer just a carrot and stick approach. It requires special skills and cannot be done by any and everyone. See if you can motivate your dog to fetch his bone for you and you will better appreciate how difficult it is to motivate humans.
The Ability To Motivate Is A Very Valuable Skill
Motivating others is a skill that is always rewarded with sweet success. Thus, motivating others helps you achieve your own goals. It also gives you the satisfaction of having helped a fellow human being realize his own potential. Any CEO knows the value of this. People are the most valuable resource in any company.
In addition, all people have some talent, which is usually hidden, lost under a pile of everyday routine. It is for the wise CEO to give all employees an environment in which their talents can bloom. Moreover, when this happens, the employee become self-motivated and you cannot stop him from achieving his goals even if you tried to.
In the terrorist attack on the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, in 2008, many employees laid down their lives in trying to help their clients out of the hotel safely. So remarkable is this that Harvard has actually commissioned a study to understand what motivated these employees to do so. A lot of the credit will go to the management obviously.
The achievement of results, the satisfaction of a job well-done, the success of the enterprise, the altruistic rewards of helping your fellow men achieve self-actualization. These are some of the benefits you will derive out of motivating others. It will help you head a team of people who are happy because they are involved in an enterprise and all rowing in the same direction. It will help you become a better person.
What Can You Do To Motivate People?
The most common visual you conjure up when you think of motivation is the carrot and the stick. This means using either rewards or punishment to get the job done or to make some behavioral change.
sBut, today, as we learn more and more about people and human behavior, we know that the task is far more complex than that. There are several things that you can do and others that are a complete no. Let us start with the latter. You should never threaten a person with dire consequences in order to get something done. Nothing is more guaranteed to get their backs up and to achieve the exact opposite results. Here are quite a few positive and useful tips on how to motivate people.
Appeal to their love for acquiring things by providing concrete rewards, be they in the form of cash, kind or recognition. Let them know in advance if you are going to reward performance and make it amply clear what it is that is expected out of them. Then, when they deliver the results make sure you keep your word, reward them as per your promise.
Performance incentives are a very powerful tool and if you treat your employees fairly, they will go the extra mile for you. Make sure that your program is well structured, well communicated and well understood throughout the company.
Make the goals achievable and divide into short-term and long-term goals. Discuss the goals and involve the employees in the goal setting exercise. That way you ensure buy in and the employees understand their stake in accomplishing the tasks that will help them reach the agreed goals.
Always listen to your people and treat them with respect and kindness. Being arrogant and listening only to your own voice is as good as being blind and deaf. Be fair but firm.
Deadlines need to be respected and a laissez-faire attitude will not do. Most importantly, reward them for working in teams. One plus one literally means three, maybe even four, in the context of the corporate world, as it is through interaction and sharing of knowledge that you arrive at the best and most innovative ideas and efforts. People also enjoy working with other people and when positive energy flows, it multiplies as the load is shared and work becomes fun.
Offer fair feedback without aiming to curtail their creativity. You need to be very sensitive when doing this or you could easily demotivate.
Always, but always recognize achievement preferably in public. Give people space to produce results. Give them the tools and the resources and support them in their endeavors in every way you can. All these are factors that will motivate them to give you back in kind.
Best Communication At All Times
Always keep the channels of communication open. This will enable you to learn of potential problems at an early stage and to fix them before the problem gets out of hand.
Motivating the Most Obstinate People in Your Group
Obstinacy is generally a sign of inflexibility and ignorance. But when you come against it, particularly as part of a team that you are heading, you could well end up wanting to bang your head against a brick wall.
There is a story that goes something like this. Ralph Waldo Emerson and his son Edward were trying to persuade a calf into the barn. However, pushing and shoving was not yielding the desired results. The son clung to the neck and Ralph pushed from behind but with no results. The calf stuck to her ground. An Irish peasant who was passing offered to help. Going to the front of the calf, she stuck her finger into its mouth and the calf quietly and without a demur followed her into the barn.
What is the moral of the story? Most people are like the calf. If you get after them against their will and prod and push them to act according to your agenda, you will only succeed in getting them to dig their heels in and they will not budge an inch. However, if you provide them with some form of motivation then chances are you will get them moving.
Good executives or leaders get their work done and their ends achieved by motivating their employees to give their best both individually as well as a team. They are willing to ignore individual weaknesses and to concentrate on using their people’s best strengths. They are concerned more with what they can do rather than what they cannot. They understand that to get the most out of them, they will need to motivate them.
President Lincoln understood the importance of motivation. When he was told that General Ulysses S. Grant had a drinking problem, he responded, “If I knew his brand, I’d send a barrel to all the other generals also.”
Motivation has to come from inside. So, as a leader you need to know what all is going on inside the obstinate individual, what are his likes and dislikes, more important his fears and his phobias. Once you know which buttons to push the rest becomes much easier. Some people respond to money others to recognition. Ask any crooked businessperson how to motivate a powerful politician and he will give you the right answers!
You need to attack on several fronts, economic, emotional, recognition, self-expression, self-respect and self-fulfillment. Check where your recalcitrant team member stands on all these issues. Identify the things that will mean the most to them and then make a plan that will provide them a solution that best meets these needs. Like Mary’s little lamb, they will be ready to follow you for the rest of your life.
The best way to motivate even the most obstinate person is to see how best you can help them to succeed and achieve their own personal goals.
Motivation Secret #1. Precise Communication
All in unison would agree that effective and proper communication is the key to success. Effectual communication is an indispensable part of one’s lives, including both professional as well as personal life. As far as professional communication is concerned, superior communication skills are necessary in today’s world, without which it is difficult to survive at work. One is expected, or instead required to get hold of more than a few basic skills, in order to develop good communication skills, with one of these skills definitely being the skill of communicating with precision.
It is very vital to understand that precision or accuracy is a very essential ingredient of good communication skills. Therefore, one should not undermine the importance of precise communication. Precise communication is the key to avoid even the minutest of misunderstandings. Clear expressions, a good body language and an appropriate tone, are among the major elements of precise communication. Apart from these, the eye contact with the person or people being spoken to and grasping the attention of the listeners is also of prime importance.
With the advancement of technology, personal communication, particularly face-to-face communication is taking a back seat. For instance, two people in the same office prefer talking over an email or over the phone, in spite of having the option to communicate face to face, in person. The point here is that when communicating in person, one’s thoughts can be communicated across more precisely than through an email or over the phone.
The significance of successful and precise communication is indisputable. It is also extremely essential for companies to communicate precisely with their clients, in order to project a good image. Communicating imprecisely is a ground for loss of image. Speaking professionally, precise communication can be a great motivator for people. One of the reasons for this is because they are more accurately aware of what is expected from them and thus work accordingly.
Communicating precisely is also a very evident sign of one’s state of mind. If people are unable to communicate in clear terms about what is on their minds, it is in most cases, an indication of their perplexed state of mind. On the contrary, people who are able to clearly express themselves are the ones who have mastered the skill of precise communication. Precise communication is also very helpful in reducing queries in the listener’s mind. That is to say, the more exactly or precisely one communicates, the easier it is for the listeners to understand. Information or data given out in precise terms, more often than not, proves to be much more useful.
Thus, it is easier to work with people who communicate precisely, as things are clear and easy to understand, and such clear communication additionally motivates people to work. Those with a perplexed state of mind, usually leave others puzzled too.
Therefore, it can be rightly stated that communication, in general and precise communication, in specific can surely help people be professionally successful.
Motivation Secret #2. Unhindered Opportunities
People sometimes might ask what motivation is. Motivation cannot simply be the urge to do something. Motivation can come from a lot of things; in fact, it can come from anyone, anything, or from anywhere. Simply liking what I am doing and being conscientious about my work can also bring motivation. If one can take the example of a bus driver who has to get up early every morning, wash and be ready for his schedule we can say that is monotonous and is not something that one can do with a lot of passion and simply said there is no motivation to do a job like that.
However if I were to ask that bus driver why he does this almost thankless job day in and day out and still be happy about it from where does he get that motivation, I might get a reply which could be an eye opener. He might simply like the early morning. He may like the fact that because he is on time everyone else catching his bus is on time wherever they have to be. He might simply reply he loves taking people to wherever they want to be on time and gets a huge amount of satisfaction doing that. The answer might surprise me!
In this context, I cannot resist myself from discussing a simple story which I read when I was in school.
The Scottish king Robert Bruce was driven out of his kingdom by the king of England Edward I. One evening the ousted king was resting in a broken-down hut all by himself and contemplating surrender, after having been beaten six times by the English king, the last time being the worst of all. He noticed a spider at the corner of the hut trying to build a web.
Each time that it tries to complete the web a strong wind would sneak through one of the cracks in the hut and destroy its attempt. Again, it would start trying from the start. The king said to the spider after six such failed attempts that now is the time to give up, very much like me after having failed six times, as I am thinking to do the same. However, the spider seemed oblivious of what the king said and kept at it. In the seventh attempt, it did manage to complete the web.
The king said to himself having realized his mistake that if there was ever a time to try one more time this is the time to do it. A few years later, he returned back to Scotland gathered an army and in a decisive battle defeated the English army and drove them out of Scotland.
It is said that the descendants of Robert Bruce until today have a special place for spiders and they look after the arachnids with a lot of kindness.
Motivation sometimes can be a result of an offer or an unhindered opportunity to excel, perform, and achieve. Human being wants to be recognized and an opportunity to perform often leads to an opportunity to be recognized. In the above example of Robert Bruce and the spider the king had an opportunity to free his country, he was unable to convince himself and look at the opportunity. The incident opened up his mind and he could see the opportunity, which could lead to his motivation and ultimately freedom for his country.
Motivation Secret #3. The Right Atmosphere For Progress
In general terms, whether we are in a professional environment, or an academic setup, or in any other personal level in our life, each and everything that we do is a measure of our success. And, this success is brought about by motivation, which causes our further development.
Hence, in the modern society, a great deal of emphasis is laid on individual progress. As society considers individual progress to be such an important parameter, in fact, that should be enough motivation for anyone to do better in life. You should be driven by the fact that if you succeed at something, society is going to view you with greater respect. For most people, this is all the incentive that they need for their individual growth.
Individuals are prone to visualize a metric for success, be it achievement of something, the buying of something or the possession of something. Sometimes for some people the greatest motivating factor is money alone.
Whatever may be the driving force behind your motivation, it is this which drives them to move forward and strive harder for success. Sometimes just for the sake of winning they can motivate themselves to strive harder. Take that simple reason out of their lives and they become an emotional and physical mess.
They need an environment which fosters the right balance and nurture their hunger for progress and success. Individuals over the course of their lives adapt to specific thought process and belief. Some of which are good and others which are known as self-limiting beliefs are never good.
They only reduce your mental strengths and your self believe. You end up doubting your abilities and become unsure about yourself. These are the thoughts that hamper progress and further development of the individual.
An individual needs to sometimes look into himself and clear himself of this excess baggage of self-limiting thoughts. They need to do some regular introspection and start thinking beyond what they have been taught and programmed to think from his childhood. If they are successful in breaking their inhibitions and fear of the unknown, they would be surprised at what they can achieve.
Mental conditioning and preparing oneself can also help someone to motivate oneself. An interesting study in context comes to my mind.
Two groups were asked two different questions. The first group was asked if they would like to solve puzzles. They were asked to keep silent and think for about a minute and then give their answer. The second group was informed that they will be required to solve some puzzles and they have 1 minute to ready themselves up for the task.
After one minute, both the groups were told to solve puzzles. Interestingly, the first group which was asked whether they would like to solve puzzles solved more puzzles than the group which merely informed about it.
Researchers discovered that by giving the first group an option to choose whether or not they would like to solve puzzles actually braced them and gave them the opportunity to think for themselves.
The other group had no choice but to follow the orders and they were forced to solve the puzzles may be against their will. The first group although may had some reluctant people at least a majority of them thought they are up for the challenge and can solve the puzzles and that gave the motivation to perform.
We can come to this conclusion that internal reasons to motivate oneself is often more powerful than external motivating factors.
Motivation Secret #4. Incentives & Feedback
Incentives are usually a monetary or non-monetary reward given to an employee for his good performance. Monetary incentives are given to an employee to recognize his good performance. It is usually paid beyond what his monthly salary is and is usually paid as a percentage of the collection, sales or team performance for a specific time period. Whatever be the form and the manner in which these are paid they are utilized to motivate the people to perform by rewarding those who have performed well.
For certain people monetary rewards are no longer a viable reward and they no longer provide them with the necessary impetus to perform well. In such cases non-monetary rewards can be utilized such as:
1. Added responsibility which goes a long way to infuse a sense in him that he is entrusted and looked after by the company and the company trusts him with added responsibility.
2. Open forum where the juniors and subordinates of the organization are asked to put forward their suggestions on to how the organization can perform better. Often this goes a long way to infuse a sense of pride and belonging to the juniors who are otherwise not motivated by money.
3. The organization can also chalk out a plan to promote the people who have spent a considerable amount of time in the organization and deserving a job role change with added responsibility. This helps them to refocus and also ensure that are happy and contributing to the organizations cause.
4. Praising in public is also another form of good incentive where you publicly recognize the person for his performance and praise him for that. This is a huge morale booster for an individual as it directly affects his sense of pride, and reputation in the peer group and gives him the necessary motivation to achieve bigger and better. In another way, it also motivates the ones who are not that performing and inspires them to perform.
5. A good and supportive working environment is also important in providing a necessary impetus to perform. Basic amenities a comfortable seating, safe and decent environment are some of the basic which affects the mind and thus the performance of the individual.
6. Training and job enrichment are also an important way of employee satisfaction and motivation. When the organization is putting money into the training and development of the employees, they are indirectly sending out a message that the organization values them as assets of the organization. Their further development is a responsibility for the organization. This also helps motivate the employees.
An interesting way that a rewarding system can be conducted can be taken from Canon’s rewarding system that operates something like this. Canon’s internal suggestion system awards a certain number of points for every suggestion that is accepted by the organization. The top 20 people who have accumulated the highest number of points from the time of the inception of the system is awarded a gold medal and a cash prize. Since this system might get repetitive being some people are way ahead of the rest in terms of accumulated points a second system where the top 30 people with the maximum points earned in a year are also awarded is maintained. These 30 people are awarded a silver medal a lesser amount of cash in prize.
Effective feedback is a way to convey a message to the individual how he is performing. Take into consideration a simple everyday example. When we visit a restaurant, we often leave the table dissatisfied because of the poor quality of the service. However, where do we convey the message that we were dissatisfied? We never leave a feedback except may be the tip that reflects how satisfied we were.
Similarly, in every organizational structure and even in personal life providing feedback is an effective way of conveying to the individual whether he has room to improve. We provide him with a general viewpoint whether he is doing wrong or all right and where are the areas in which he can improve. Until and unless we do so, he may have absolutely no idea that he is far off the target and needs to improve urgently.
In organizational structures when you delegate you have to review and provide feedback. Sometimes when you discuss the performance in a face to face scenario the individual may be able to come down to his gray areas of performance himself and suggest ways to improve that.
Motivation is a much-needed ingredient in today’s world. We are all working, but our efforts are often misguided. We are distracted with too many opportunities and we cannot focus on the task in hand. We do not understand what drives us. That is watering down our efforts, and the lack of proper opportunities and an environment to work in is impeding our progress as well.
If we are motivated, we can overcome all these problems and move along in a much better, more sure-footed manner. We will know where to go and what to do.
This applies for everyone, and we must keep it in mind when we are on the giving end of motivation as well. When we want people to do their optimal best, to really make some progress, then we need to motivate them in the right manner.
“Dreams can be had. Goals can be achieved. Questions can be answered. Be open to opportunities!” Michael “MJ The Terrible” Johnson – Founder & Owner – Masters of Money, LLC.
P.S. The Ultimate Persuasion Technique – https://www.mastersofmoney.com/theultimatepersuasiontechnique/