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Stuck in Mud? Here's How to Get Out

Tue,Nov 22,2016 @ 01:33 PM

It's that time of year where finding an excuse to get out of things becomes more and more appealing with each passing day. We lack motivation- it's darker outsider earlier, it's getting colder (for those of us that have the misfortune of living in the North), and the end of year is approaching. We have to take a minute to look in the mirror by asking ourselves the question, "If I want my employee to be motivated, I need to demonstrate that. Am I doing a good job at modeling by example?" If the answer is no, take the time to focus on your own actions and consider the implications they have for your employees. It's easy to spot the faults in others, but without careful examination, your own motivation may be falling by the wayside.

Where does this come from?

We can't assume the same things affect all of our employees, and same can be said for what gets our employees out of the mud. The simplest solution? Ask your employee what motivates them! If they have trouble placing a finger on the specific thing that motivates them, drill it down to the following question: If you had a lot of free time, where would you like to spend it? If you're not engaging in these conversations with your employees, and frankly, with yourself, you're not uncovering a possible benefit to your company or workplace.

But we can't coach to it if we can't define it, right?

This is key- we can't coach thingswe can define it. This is especially true when it comes to things that are nebulous, or hard to define like "motivation". Motivation to one person could be having a large coffee, motivation to another could be a positive work environment. However, a common tenant with most employees is a sense of progress- if they're feeling like they're progressing or getting better at their job, they correlate with feeling motivated.

You can't wait until it's too late! Here are some steps to help motivate your employees (or maybe yourself!):

  1. Use the motivation as a tool-Ask what motivates your/your employees, then use it! Don't simply ask for the sake of asking, put it to good use.  For example, we have a client whose manager just found out one of his employee's dreams was to take his whole family to Ireland. The employee worked in a call center where there is a lot of stress and challenge. Over an eight week period of time the manager simply put brochures and books on the employee's desk. The manager even put a screensaver about the country of Ireland on the employees PC. In eight weeks this employees productivity went up almost 32% in terms of their volume of effort as it relates to the number of calls they needed to make.The manager did NO formal coaching. He simply focused on what motivated the employee.
  2. Where do your employees want to improve? Provide resources, ask questions, provide peer-based coaching with people who do well in that particular area. Progress, as we defined, is the feeling of getting better at their job, which directly relates to motivation. Your employees, and you, are not going to be motivated UNLESS you feel you're doing well and improving. Who enjoys the feeling of being stagnant?
  3. Make the time! This may be the most important aspect of the process. If you don't invest the time in the process, how can you expect results? Ever heard of the term, "positive reinforcement"? It'll help with this part of the process. Take 10-15 minutes every day to look for the good things your employees are doing, and only react to those things. This builds the motivation and drives the culture! Always put an investment in time- it'll pay off when you have a motivated culture.

Motivation is brittle and all it takes sometimes is for someone to ask questions, learn, and take action on what was learned. Everyone wants to feel motivated but is difficult for some people. This is a challenge a manager should not ignore.

Know your employees need motivation, but are at a loss as to how to coach them? Check out our webinar below for more information!

Tim Hagen

Written by Tim Hagen

Tim Hagen founded Sales Progress, a Training Reinforcement Partner Company, in 1997. His entrepreneurial career began in college leading to positions in sales, sales management, and sales training for small and large corporations, and eventually ownership of several training companies. He possesses a unique combination of hands-on experience, academics, and innovative insight to solve the industry’s most common challenges. Tim holds a bachelor’s degree in Adult Education and Training from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

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