Management: Keeping People Motivated

I have been running a survey recently on newsletter topics that my readers would find most helpful and motivation is a theme that is continually being highlighted. With so much uncertainty in many industries and sectors right now because of the challenging economic conditions, it is easy to see why keeping people motivated would be a major challenge for managers.

So what would be my top tips for keeping people motivated in these challenging times?

Tip 1:  Make time for people

Yes you might have so much to do that you think you cannot sit down with individuals and your team to discuss challenges and what you can collectively do about them.  The reality is that a short regular meeting can go a long way to keeping spirits up.  It takes little or no time and the payback will be significant.

Tip 2:  Listen more

You might have heard the phrase a problem shared is a problem halved.  In other words sometimes people just need you to listen to and acknowledge their worries and fears, even if they know that there is no immediate answer or solution.

Tip 3: Say thank you

It never ceases to amaze me that managers forget about the cheapest and sometimes most powerful form of motivation which is to say thank you when people have met the deadline, pulled out the stops and generally done that little bit extra to deliver.  Even a two line e-mail can have a positive impact.

At the end of the day keeping people motivated is a key part of your success as a manager right now.  Let me have your thoughts and tips on what works when it comes to keeping people motivated. 

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

Leave a Comment:

Darren christie says 26 January 2009

You miss the point totally paying a decent wage, give a payrise that covers bill increases and not inflation (as inflation is always lower than the amount bills go up) and give a bonus that means something to the employee and will make a difference to the employee. Pay overtime, stop making employees feel like criminals if they are off ill. Give a decent number of days holiday a year (over 20) and be flexible on working hours.
All this will motivate employees, but then this costs money and will stop employees worrying about money, and you wouldn’t want that.

Duncan Brodie says 26 January 2009

Hi Darren

Thanks so much for your input. I accept that money is clearly a consideration in terms of people being motivated.

At the same time, many pieces of research into what motivates people indicate that money alone is not a top motivator for employees (while many managers believe it is).

As Maslow indicates in his hierarchy of needs, we all have some basic needs around things like food and shelter which obviously require money. However, once those basic needs are met they no longer act as motivators.

The great thing about a topic like this is that there are many perspectives and your comment adds one of real value.

Shannon Ramiro says 27 January 2009

All 3 tips are good. People are motivated by many things and prefer recognition in different ways. Some people want public praise while others prefer recognition in private. For those who are not motivated by money, waving $100,000 in front of them will not make them more productive. Yet, that same person may be more productive if allowed to take 2 hour lunches to get errands done. The point is, motivation differs based on the individual. Managers should take the time to determine what motivates each person on their team and work with them accordingly.

Duncan Brodie says 27 January 2009

Thanks Shannon. You are so right. Different people have different motivators which is probably just as well as things would be rather dull if we are all the same.

I think it is key if you are a manager that you discover what the motivators are for individual members of the team so that you can adapt your approach to get the best from each individual.

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