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Motivating Employees for Company Success

Motivating Employees for Company Success

To quote Steve Schott on motivating employees, “You cannot motivate anyone else if you are not motivated.”   Realizing that behavior, for employees to model, starts with us is the first step to “controlling” others.  Well, this article is not really about “controlling” others, but tactically using our influence to motivate employees and/or the team to be more engaged.  Gallup (the polling company from way back when) has studied millions of employees in organizations on how to gauge employees’ engagement.   Here is where you might find ideas after realizing the rating of engagement leads toward how to actually get them to be more engaged.  We assume you know the strong correlation between engagement and profitability, customer satisfaction, increased productivity, lower turnover, increased safety, less absenteeism, patient safety and quality, or having less defects in your product.  For that, you will have to go to and read up on the white papers available there.motivating employees

Back to what you can do to motivate employees to be more engaged.  Nothing kills the spirit like a boss with their feet on the desk, barking orders but not adding value.  My favorite memory from corporate culture comes from asking for clarification on a project while being fairly new.  The response was “if you have to ask what is expected then how can I tell you what is expected?”  This was delivered in a way that shut the conversation down.  Do you believe I was motivated to do more and contribute my all?

Micro-managers, this is definitely for you.   Do you want to know if you are a micro-manager?

  • Do people on your team come to you for answers to challenges that are preventing them from moving forward?
  • Do you give answers rather than ask questions when your team comes to you for guidance to evoke their ideas?
  • Are you disappointed with the amount of work that get done when you are out of the office?
  • Do you  have a team of employees without the necessary skills and readiness to replace you?
  • Are you annoyed with the way employees approach the projects or scope of work and express that displeasure?
  • Do you have team meetings where the room feels gloomy or intense and there is silence unless you are talking or demanding updates?

If you answered 6 out of 6 with a “yes,” then you will watch your employees disintegrate unless you change your ways.  You know that you cannot move up until you have a self-functioning team without your presence.   If you want those engaged motivated employees, by all means try these tactics:

  • Identify / create / articulate your clear vision of the end goal.  Yes, if you do not already have that you will need to spend time formulating your own first.  Enlist those around you if you are having trouble translating organizational goals to your scope of work.
  • Collaborate with the team to translate the overarching goals to their work, internal client satisfaction, external client satisfaction or other markers regularly measured.   This is a great way to build the team and create coalitions of cross support when they translate the greater goal into their scope of work.
  • Delegate projects that put the hot potato of responsibility squarely in their hands.  The process serves two purposes.  One, you are not watching (aka micro managing) them do the actual work that you could do more quickly, thus squashing their tiny little spirits in the process.  And two, you can focus on other things like preparing the presentation to the board to get greater headcount or additional funding to increase your own responsibility.
  • Delegating is also the most cost effective employee development program available.  Give them a challenge with limited initial guidance to see what they understood.  When they ask questions be careful not to shift the responsibility back to your desk.  If they ask questions find open ended questions in response which allows them to think through possible solutions.
  • Get more comfortable with risk tolerant mistakes since the only way to increase productivity and stay engaged is to allow mistakes with accountability.  No you cannot take the million dollar loss out of their paycheck but use that as a “teaching moment” to get a commitment to how they will approach the responsibility differently next time.  Otherwise, talk about skills they need to ensure flawless execution.  Mistakes will happen anyway so mitigate risk by allowing your team to assess their own risk, create the plan, execute to plan and create a recovery plan if necessary.

Entrepreneurs are told to create a business with an exit strategy.  The point of that is the structure of any business should work without you in the middle.   Scalability is through people or process and employees are the quickest way to get more done.   Motivating employees takes forward thinking mindset and trust in your people.  After all, they are adults and are responsible in all other areas of their life for the outcome of their efforts.    Leading those adults into growing themselves and their career will show you who you want to pull forward with you.

By the way, start long before you are walking out the door.   Open up the dialogue about expectations and really listen to hear the questions and let them flow in a way that is natural and watch what happens.

Contact Us Today for Help in Motivating Your Employees

When stuck and need ideas for motivating employees, articulating the end goal, translating corporate initiatives to your work, coaching can help.  If you need understanding of your own block to delegation or micro management, contact Pat Weiland, Executive Coach and President at Sage Strategies by completing our contact form here.


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