How to Motivate Employees

How to Motivate Employees

May 27, 2024 IPI 0

There’s a common saying that employees don’t leave companies; they leave managers. Why do some leaders capture our attention, make us want to collaborate, and listen with interest, while others’ management styles and communication about the same topics bore or discourage us?

It turns out that how we communicate goals, delegate tasks, and provide feedback has a significant impact on team engagement and motivation. Effective communication in leadership is another critical factor that triggers long-term intrinsic motivation and increases employee engagement.

Why Is This Important?

One of the most common mistakes in motivating and increasing team engagement through communication is relying solely on informational communication, which employees may perceive as directive. For instance:

  • Informing the team about “what” needs to be done (e.g., “Our goal is to sign a contract with company X”) or
  • Explaining “how” it should be done (e.g., “Let’s work with dedication”).

While informational communication is necessary to convey criteria and essential requirements for tasks, it only minimally activates the recipient’s motivational processes. Whether an employee engages in performing a task depends on more than just knowing what and how—it’s about connecting with purpose, understanding the “why,” and feeling motivated to contribute¹.

Effective leaders go beyond mere information delivery. They inspire, engage, and create a sense of purpose. Here are some strategies to motivate employees:

Purpose-Driven Communication:

  • Clearly articulate the purpose behind tasks and projects. Explain how they align with the organization’s mission and values.
  • Connect individual contributions to the bigger picture. When employees understand the impact of their work, they feel more motivated.

Feedback and Recognition:

  • Regularly provide constructive feedback. Acknowledge achievements and offer specific praise.
  • Recognize effort and progress, not just final outcomes. Celebrate small wins along the way.

Autonomy and Empowerment:

  • Give employees autonomy to make decisions within their roles. Encourage creativity and problem-solving.
  • Empower them to take ownership of their work. When employees have a sense of control, they feel more motivated.

Growth Opportunities:

  • Offer learning and development opportunities. Invest in training, workshops, and skill-building.
  • Show employees a clear path for growth within the organization. When they see potential advancement, they stay motivated.

Inclusive Communication:

  • Listen actively and empathetically. Understand employees’ perspectives and concerns.
  • Involve them in decision-making. When employees feel heard and valued, their motivation increases.

Remember, effective motivation goes beyond directives—it taps into intrinsic drivers like purpose, autonomy, and growth. As a leader, your communication style can either ignite or dampen motivation. Choose wisely and inspire your team to achieve their best¹². 🌟

What significantly initiates the aforementioned internal motivation is communication that starts with “why,” e.g., “This year, we can become one of the leaders in our segment, which is why we need to implement our product with x clients.” “Why? How? What?” – this sequence explains why the best managers can inspire their teams to high engagement and quick goal achievement. The most important element of communication starting with “why” is the idea at the center of the message, which includes values that strongly motivate and determine whether we join in accomplishing a given action or not. According to Howard Schultz, longtime CEO of Starbucks, “People don’t like to be managed. They want to be part of something bigger than themselves. They want to be part of a vision they can buy into and see themselves in. They also want to see themselves as important and appreciated.” Therefore, the manager’s role is to create an atmosphere of building something much greater than all the company’s employees, and an effective tool for communicating this vision is communication starting with “why,” which includes values.

Author Anna Modrzewska

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