While fads, pop-science and the in-vogue may work in some circumstances, I can tell you, based on 40 years of working in environments that require high levels of personal motivation, these are not long-term sustainable approaches. In fact, trends in management should be seen as levels of strategy to be overlaid on a basic, fundamental base of common human sense. These common human sense behaviours and attitudes are those that natural leaders engage in, naturally.
Natural leaders know the secret. The secret sounds surprisingly easy – it’s putting people first. It’s as simple as knowing names, giving your time, being generous with your knowledge and offering genuine compliments and assistance. Don’t confuse manipulation with motivation. Manipulation leads to toxic corporate culture, which is unsustainable.
If you start with the premise that staff are aware of, and committed to a sensible company code of conduct, and have a leadership team committed to transparency and empowerment, motivational culture can flourish. Successful businesses are those that invest in their people, and put people first. This sounds obvious and it sounds easy, but – “Whatever is good to know is difficult to learn.” Keep learning and teaching.
- Have conversations and get to know people.
- Listen to people’s ideas and give regular feedback.
- Ask questions and stay to hear the answers.
- Build trust
- Show appreciation which includes fair pay.
- Create opportunities for individuals and groups.
- Include people in the decision making process.
- Empower people with autonomy in areas of skill and scaffold in areas that need growth.
- Facilitate mastery, encouraging knowledge exchange and facilitating access to training.
- Nurture individuals.