Motivation vs. Engaging

Motivating vs Engaging: The Myth and the Reality

Since the middle of the last century, leaders and managers have been told that one of their primary responsibilities is to motivate their employees. This is a myth! People can only motivate themselves – no one can do it for another person!

However, as a leader you can create the conditions that actively engage others and in which they motivate themselves to provide high performance. Ask yourself, how effective are you, as a manager or supervisor, at engaging your staff?

Here are several questions to rate your leadership:

  • Do you take steps to make sure that your staff members are fully and regularly updated on the organization’s goals and priorities so they know how their work fits into the bigger picture?
  • Do you make yourself available to answer questions and build your relationship with them to show that you see them as important people working together on important initiatives?
  • Do you convey that you are genuinely interested in their ideas? John W. Rogers, Chairman, CEO and Chief Investment Officer of Ariel Investments, says this: “I constantly make sure we’ve created an environment that encourages people on the team to really say what they think, to get their ideas out on the table and to give them the opportunity to argue those perspectives and make sure they’re not holding them inside and going home and talking to their family about the idea. That’s something I’m constantly working at – how can I create that environment, how can I ask the right questions, how do I go around and make sure people tell you what they really think? That takes patience, but it’s the right thing to do.”
  • Do you provide regular feedback on their performance so they know how they are succeeding in your eyes and understand what needs to be improved? Do they, as a result, feel confident that there are no secrets and little likelihood of being blindsided at formal performance evaluation time?
  • Do you encourage them to make suggestions and try new approaches?

If not, these five questions provide you valuable approaches to support your employees choosing, day by day, to commit fully to the success of the organization. In other words, they will show the signs of motivating themselves!

Consider finding a leadership coach to guide you in customizing your approach to your organization’s priorities. Your job will be so much easier and you will be much more effective.