Quit Trying to Motivate People and Focus on These 3 Things Instead

Motivation is something I hear about on a daily basis in my role as a leader. Motivation needs to be as unique as the team member you are applying it to. Generationally speaking remember that just because an individual chronologically falls into a generation category doesn’t mean that motivators will be consistent with that generation. That being said, Boomers want to to be respected, revered, heard and appreciated for their vital contributions. Gen Xers don’t respond well to the one-size-fits-all approach that their younger predessesors appreciate; Gen Xers want to be individually recognized and tend to respond well to motivators like extra time off, financials rewards or other incentives that influence work-life balance. Millennials have been recognized from day one so they need immediate and constant feedback. Millennials also want to feel heard and appreciated in spite of their age or level within an organization.

Leading with Trust

Got MotivationWhat if I said you were wasting your time trying to motivate your employees? Would you think I’ve committed leadership heresy? Would you say I’ve gone off the deep end and lost touch with the reality? Maybe I am a heretic. Maybe I have gone a little bit cuckoo.

But I’ll say it anyway. You’re wasting your time trying to motivate people.

The reality is people are always motivated. The question is not if they are motivated, but why. That’s the question my colleague Susan Fowler is imploring leaders to ask as they consider how to best lead their team members in achieving their goals and those of the organization. Susan’s recent book, Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work…and What Does: The New Science of Leading, Energizing, and Engaging, along with the training program Optimal Motivation, explores how leaders can help their people tap into the psychological needs that…

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