Dan at Leadership Freak had a recent post on De-motivation – I thought it was a great mirror to hold up.
We pay a lot of attention to what we ought to do to motivate those around us, but very little to how we get it wrong.
My first coach talked of the emotional bank account: you can make 100 fantastic deposits and then make one (small) withdrawal and it’s all back to zero. It is so very true.
An amended version of the list of de-motivators from Dan’s blog can be downloaded here. I made it separate as it speaks for itself and I wish to build on the concept.
Firstly many of us have a slightly distorted view of what is required to motivate. I hope to dispel some myths with over the next two posts.
Myth one: Treat others as you would like to be treated
To put it simply: we have a world full of stamp collectors and motorbike racers, in-between is everything you can imagine. Do you really think the same thing will satisfy them all?
I sit with the likes of George Bernard Shaw, Karl Pooper, Immanuel Kant on this one. The trick is to treat others as they wish to be treated, their habit’s, behaviours, tastes and preferences will be different to yours, so it follows that what motivates them will be just a bit different too.
As a leader you need to take the initiative to try to understand who you are working with.
Myth two: Stretch targets give you stretch
I’m either motivated or not. If I set the target myself I’m more likely to get there, because I know and understand myself better than most.
[pullquote]What you need to do is motivate them to then achieve stretch.
You will never stretch them to motivation![/pullquote]
Managers often fall into the trap of setting goals too big or too far away for their team.
What you need to do is motivate them to then achieve stretch. You will never stretch them to motivation!
The best targets are ones which are knocked off and replaced by new and different challenges at appropriate intervals. For some this means daily, for others weekly, a few can go 3 or 4 months and the exceptions longer.
Those who achieve bigger goals further out simply reflects that they have the capacity to set and achieve all the small goals in-between by themselves.
Smaller goals in shorter timeframes don’t deliver lesser overall outcomes, and don’t require more management; big goals with nothing in between lead you to that trap.
Stretch follows motivation, if you are not getting stretch you simply are not ‘motivating’ the person in the right way or often enough. Or you may be de-motivating them by having them feel overwhelmed by the unobtainable or micro-managing or any of the other things on the document I have attached.
Tomorrow : Part 2 – Myth 3 – It’s about the money, and Myth 4 – It’s not about the money!