Whether you are a teacher standing in front of a disgruntled class or a project manager trying to get a team to work their hardest, motivating people can be a real challenge. A leader must find a balance that perfectly creates an air of wanting to achieve, without being too pushy or, conversely, not assertive enough.
Here are a few tips to motivate others effectively.
Ask for input
People are more likely to want to take part in something if they are able to have a say in how it will be completed. If you are a teacher, ask your students what kind of activities they enjoy learning through the most and become familiar with students’ learning styles.
If you are managing colleagues, get to know how they like working. For example, see how they like to divide their responsibilities across their workday and support them in this structure and make sure you listen to their feedback on how you manage them.
Involve them in activities
You might assume that people who are unmotivated are not interested in doing work. It might actually be the case that the work they have been assigned isn’t right for them or is not fulfilling, or they might feel like they are being neglected by you as a leader.
Make sure you consider everyone in your team when you are assigning tasks. Setting different people new challenges could surprise you (you didn’t know they had it in them) and it could surprise them (they have found a new skill they are good at).
Trust that they will get the work done
An off-putting trait of a group leader is lack of trust. If you make it known that you don’t trust them to do their work, they might not be motivated to show you otherwise. This is reflective of self-fulfilling prophecy, meaning if everyone has low expectations of someone, they eventually fall into the perceived unsuccessful person others already think they are.
Instead, keep people on a looser leash. Give them room to complete their work in their own way and only intervene if they repeatedly fail to meet expectations.
A team can usually tell if their leader doesn’t want to be working with them, even if said leader is a great actor. If your people can tell you don’t want to be there, they won’t feel particularly motivated to give back to the session. Consequently, it is important to let your passion shine through and to show appreciation.
If you are having a bad day, think about why you got into your job in the first place and focus on the parts that bring you joy. Also, consider how important the work you are doing is to your group and how much you would want an appreciative, caring leader if you were in their position.
Challenge and inspire them
Having a goal helps people to actually see what their hard work can achieve. By challenging a team with tricky tasks and a rewarding end payoff, they will feel more focused and motivated to complete work that contributes to this achievement.
In addition, people like to rise to high expectations in of itself. Knowing someone else believes you can do something can give you strong self-belief and real satisfaction when you know you have overcome a hurdle. When someone has raised the bar, compliment their hard work and let them know you will support them reaching even more targets in the future.
It is important, however, to not set people a challenge so above their current ability that it is unrealistic for them to achieve it. This can cause them to become anxious about the task and ultimately be left positively unmotivated.
Promote growth mindsets
Having the right mindset can really motivate someone to do something. If you feel that a task is difficult and involves obstacles, you may be put off from doing it and will feel negatively towards it.
Spinning our outlooks on their heads can help to motivate us. A growth mindset means we see a challenging task as an opportunity to learn and that it is something we can achieve if we work to get there. This perspective minimises the risk of us abandoning a task because we are excited to take it on.
As a result, educating your team on having growth mindsets and continually promoting this can help to motivate and drive work forward.
What is something you do to motivate others?