One of my CEO executive coaching clients shared with me the data from a recent company engagement survey, which indicated that far too many employees weren’t engaged with the mission and vision of the company. Employees had too many priorities, and they couldn’t focus their energies.
The CEO wanted to inspire and motivate his workforce. We engaged in a pretty fierce coaching conversation about how to help his leaders develop a more growth-oriented mindset. They needed to learn how to tap into people’s intrinsic motivation.
Many business leaders have lost sight of what motivates people at work. In fact, some companies haven’t updated their incentive practices in years, which means they’re probably struggling to create and sustain high-performing teams.
Motivating without Micromanaging
Most managers want to motivate people to peak performance, but their approach often backfires. In their fervent desire to teach people what they know to be true (after all, it worked to get them promoted to management, right?), some managers enthusiastically over-manage.
Over-management can manifest as micromanagement. When you tell staffers what to do, how to do it, when to do it and why your way is better, you undermine their ability to think for themselves. Instead of enjoying some control over the way they work, they begin to feel powerless and controlled. They many even start to doubt their competency. Their relationship with you deteriorates, as it is now based on compliance and conformity.
Managers who micromanage destroy any chance for their people to find meaning and fulfillment at work. Your staff’s basic psychological needs for autonomy, relatedness and competency remain unfulfilled, prompting them to withdraw and disengage.
The Domino Effect
Autonomy, relatedness and competency are interdependent. When you fail to offer opportunities for learning and growth (competency), you thwart opportunities for autonomy and relatedness. Mess with one and the others fall like dominoes.
Don’t make the mistake of believing your people lack motivation. People want to learn, grow, enjoy work, be productive and make a contribution. They want to enjoy relationships at work. It’s human nature.
When our psychological needs are satisfied, we experience positive energy, vitality and a sense of well-being. We strive for more. You’ve likely experienced this with your hobbies. No one needs to tell you to engage in something you enjoy; you do it because you derive pleasure from it.
Boost employee commitment by conducting a motivational outlook conversation. Ask your people to identify what motivates them to do their work. Your goal is to help them identify motivating factors that have maximum impact and create optimum energy.
Most people identify several reasons for working: from the external (money or status) to the internal (finding meaning, acting on one’s values and ideals, aspiring to a higher purpose). Also, pay attention to the following motivation drivers:
1. Inherence: I enjoy doing this.
2. Integration: Work helps me fulfill my purpose as a leader.
3. Alignment: I value developing people.
Consider negative motivational outlooks:
4. Imposition: I have to; it’s my job.
5. Externalization: It’s what I’m paid to do.
6. Disinterest: I’d rather be doing something else.
Start to regard motivation as a skill—one that can be learned, acquired, encouraged and sustained. Each of us can choose our motivation.
Motivational conversations help people discover different reasons for doing their work. Once they pinpoint their current motivations, they can work toward finding their internal motivations—ideally, those that relate to their values.
It may take several conversations for staffers to deliver their best work through values they truly care about. You can help them see the bigger picture and connect the dots to feeling valued.
Remember: People are already motivated. You can provide a culture that encourages higher levels. Don’t succumb to organizational systems that favor driving over thriving. It doesn’t have to be that way.
You can develop the qualities of motivational leadership by working with a professional coach. The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.
Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put motivational leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to be more conscious, and tap into the intrinsic motivation of followers? Inspiring leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.
One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a motivational leader who inspires individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders develop a motivated workforce.