Employer Branding

How to Get Your Managers to Motivate Their Teams

This post is sponsored by Workstride, helping companies recognise, motivate, and develop their talent through a blend of configurable software, modern rewards experiences, and strategic program design. 

Every employee has their own sources of motivation when it comes to work. Some are motivated by money; others are driven by the necessity of providing for their family. Others are inspired by the opportunity to make a difference in the world or to learn something new.

Meeting these various needs begins with your managers understanding individual motivational needs. The managers of your organization are tasked with engaging and motivating employees, according to Gallup’s State of the Manager report. However, a staggering 51% of them have ‘checked out’. Why? Believe it or not, it’s because they aren’t being engaged or motivated by their manager. (It’s not a good cycle.)

Stopping this Inception-style sequence of disengagement hinges on leaders who are accountable to building relationships with employees and understanding their individual sources of motivation. Here are 3 typical employee motivators that aren’t usually addressed by managers, as well as some questions to consider about what drives your employees to perform:

1. Driven by personal expression

Some employees want to be seen as individuals and respected for their unique qualities, rather than feeling like they’re just a warm body filling a seat. Allowing these employees to unleash their sense of self, ego, or individualism can serve as a powerful driver for their performance.  (Just be sure that a sense of ego doesn’t turn into a culture that benefits the bullies.)

Are employees at your company allowed to express their individuality, or are they expected to conform to the company norm? 

2. Motivated by connections with managers

According to Gallup’s research, capable managers make an effort to get to know their employees and are comfortable talking about work and other subjects. Of employees who feel they can approach their manager with any question, 54% of them are engaged. By comparison, 65% of employees who don’t have this sense of connection with their manager are disengaged.

Are managers creating meaningful, genuine connections with their team members?

3. Inspired by a passion for their craft

A leading barrier to employee motivation is a feeling that one’s passion isn’t being used to its full potential. Encourage employees to take personal ownership for their work. And be sure to reward and recognize employees when their passion and creativity drives an innovative solution. Need an example? This article highlights how the team at Pixar does this every day to accomplish this.

In your organization, are employees heard when they express passion about a project or are new ideas shut down because they will take too much time or might fail?

Once managers understand what drives employees as individuals, leverage those motivational factors. Don’t let anxieties about big egos ruining your company culture or a fear of hiring passionate employees stop you from examining what motivates employees. To be certain, those motivators can cause problems, but with care, thought, and a desire to truly connect with employees, managers have the power to break the negative cycle of unmotivated and disengaged employees and replace it with a powerful culture of employees who are passionate about their work.

Ingrid Catlin is Director of Marketing at Workstride, a company dramatically changing the world of employee recognition, incentives and engagement. Ingrid has spent the last decade working with B2B software and consulting organizations on marketing strategy, demand generation, marketing automation and marketing operations—all the while observing the effects of corporate culture on employee morale and engagement.

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