How to motivate your employees to achieve success

Thought Leadership on Leadership Training presented by MKS&H.

In my last article, Can your 2-Year Old Teach You Workplace Accountability, I discussed how you can learn accountability and how you can work on it with your direct reports. But if they are not personally motivated to be accountable, be proactive and rise to every business challenge, you’re not going to get very far.

There are numerous aspects of motivation, but they can be condensed into two main areas to focus on. It’s important to set up a general environment to motivate employees, and have a focus on each person’s specific drivers of motivation.

The best place to start is the general environment, as that will initially give you the most bang for the buck across your company. There are many diverse options to build the type of supportive environment that will grow and support employee motivation, but here are a few ideas that might help:

  1. Acknowledge, acknowledge, acknowledge

One of the most important areas of driving motivation is acknowledgement. Yes, benefits and compensation go a long way, but they need to be supported by acknowledgement of a job well done. Small wins should get a personal mention… big wins should be more of a company-wide spectacle. Not only will this propel those people in the future, but when others see those acknowledgements, it will motivate them to be in the limelight as well. There are too many ways to accomplish this to mention here, but start with praise in an email or a pat on the back, and mention the big wins at your department-level or company-wide meetings.

  1. Set SMART Goals

You may have heard of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-Bound or Timely) goals before, but no matter the mnemonic used, or process used, it’s very important to have your employees’ goals be in the right range between being attainable and challenging them. If you’re outside this range, you’re going to kill their motivation. Too easy, and they feel unchallenged and motivation will ebb. Too challenging, and they will feel like a failure and motivation will start to die out as they see their goals are unattainable. If you stick to the SMART goals, you’ll definitely be on the right track.

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