Dog teaches employee motivation

Employee Motivation is Key: Here’s how to make it happen

Hike teaches employee motivation

Grace resting during a hike

As a manager, have you ever noticed that even two employees doing the same job need to work differently to get the best results? You see it happen all the time in the workforce; employees everywhere are hired with varying skill sets and styles, and managers must learn to work differently with each individual in order to maximize employee motivation.

But sometimes it is less obvious when things change with the same employee. Watching for signs if something is amiss is vital to ensuring future interactions within the work environment.

Role Reversal

If a manager doesn’t get the results she wants, oftentimes she will simply expect the staff member to change. But what if the manager were to take the lead instead? Versatile employees come with versatile motivational interests, and employers must appeal to those individual qualities when striving for an ideal and effective workplace.  

Focusing in on each employee’s motivation not only makes the individual more willing to resolve the situation at hand, but also gives the employer an clearer idea of how to move forward with future assignments.

This is not just a useful skill for the workplace; individuals in your everyday life also come with a myriad of motivational interests, and it is always helpful to decipher what motivates them personally.

Personal Motivations

Take my dog, Grace. Grace is 14 ½ years old. Her white face is the most obvious sign of her age, but these days, there are other signs, too. She doesn’t run as fast, nor as often. She is prone to simple falls as her front and back legs just aren’t as steady as they once were.

Yet when we’re out in the woods, where she and I both enjoy our time so much, it’s easy to forget. She forges ahead and attempts to keep pace, but it’s not healthy to put her in the same situations as before.  In order to have her enjoy the exercise safely, it’s good to give her rest time that I never needed to think about before (and that she herself is not likely to ask for). Simply going for more frequent, but shorter walks is another modification that helps her get her exercise without leaving a longer walk being sore.

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all been in Grace’s shoes – sometimes we take on too much without realizing that our results aren’t as effective as they once were. But great employers are not only active and engaging leaders; they also seek to learn from their employees, and want the best for the people who work for them.

For instance, an employee who used to need oversight on projects could have advanced to a point where he should be given more authority and autonomy. As you expect your staff to learn and grow, you will need to alter how you direct each person.

Your approach needs to have an ebb and flow, allowing flexibility between individuals, and very importantly, even changing your style depending on situations with the same person.

When to Change

How do you know when it’s time to adjust your style? Look for signs that things are changing – or just aren’t working – and make a change yourself that will set your team member up for success. Not only will you be happy with the results, but your employee will have a better idea of what you want from them in the future.

They will also feel more comfortable coming to you if there is any future misfire in communication. Adjusting to leverage an employee’s personal talents and capabilities will intrinsically motivate them and ultimately build a stronger employer/employee relationship that will last!

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  1. judyringer on May 10, 2019 at 10:00 am

    Thank you for your always cogent insights, Robin. And for giving us a chance to see Grace now and then. I love her name! Happy Friday!

    • Robin on May 11, 2019 at 10:55 am

      Thank you, Judy! Grace is slowing down a bit but still pretty active, considering her age. She is a real inspiration and it’s a joy to share her with you.

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