Motivation and Demotivation


Success in business is rarely down to technical skills or knowledge alone. Getting the most from your team is the sign of a good manager and can lead to a successful business. The key to this is motivating people and giving them space to develop themselves to their full potential. Being able to motivate your team successfully starts with wanting the best for your people. If you care to find out about them and their needs and ambitions, you will find what motivates them. This will keep them performing at their best.

How can you motivate your team?

Suggestions for motivating your team:

• You have to be motivated yourself to motivate others.
• Motivation needs to be focused on clear, specific, realistic and achievable goals.
• Seeing progress towards those goals gives a sense of achievement and helps revive motivation.
• Motivation requires managing – there are always hurdles along the way that drain energy or distractions that take your eye off the ball.
• Everyone has different motivations – you just need to find what they are. They may well be different from yours and will give you useful insights into what drives people. Ask your people what they want from their job, and for the business as a whole.

Your staff may say money is a motivator – but look closely and you will find that it is frequently more of a stepping-stone to another goal: for instance, money to travel, retire early or a desire for recognition.

• A sense of belonging motivates – the smaller the group to which someone belongs, the stronger the loyalty, motivation and effort.
• Participation motivates – people feel more motivated when they feel their involvement in a project is important and valued. Often we exclude our greatest assets – the people around us – from decisions in which they could be usefully included.
• Challenges motivate and people often rise to the occasion. However, it can also be demotivating if they are too difficult, or conversely, too easy to achieve.
• Motivation needs recognition and reward – even if it’s something as simple as a thank you.
What causes demotivation?

• Constantly moving goalposts – people lose sight of goals, or feel they will never reach them and so cease to care about them any more.
• Not knowing what is going on. If you do not bother to tell people what is happening, you can demotivate and possibly alienate them too. Uncertainty is a very destabilising emotion in a group.
• Not showing faith or trust in people.
• Arbitrary decisions which are not consistent for all members of staff, and humiliating people in front of their peers.
• Pay, work conditions or available facilities can affect motivation, and often small changes can bring large differences.

Signs of demotivation

• Increased absenteeism/sickness.
• Incomplete or careless work.
• Lack of concentration.
Motivate yourself
Before you can inspire others to extend themselves, you need to develop your own sense of motivation. Here are some tips to help you.
• Build your confidence and develop self-belief. Success doesn’t always go to the strongest person, but to the person with the greatest conviction.
• If you work alone, identify an understanding person with whom you can talk through business issues and who will encourage you. A mentor can help here.
• If you feel overwhelmed by a daunting task, such as sorting out your tax or personal finances, it tends to affect the rest of your attitude.


Advance Your Career

Many people in the world are continually looking to advance their career. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by taking accredited training courses specific to a trade. There are a myriad of different types of training courses for practically every profession.

Soft Skills Training Courses

The courses that are not involved with the administrative aspect of the business are usually most common. These courses often cost a relatively small amount to join. The correct courses can help you to climb the ladder of success within your career and thus allow students to improve the chances of increasing their income. These advanced courses add additional expertise that employers oftentimes require. Companies are increasingly in need of people with advanced skills. That is one reason continuing education courses are of such importance.

Where to Take the Courses

There are a variety of different places that offer training courses. Some of these places can are found at local universities or smaller centres for advanced educational opportunities. Most communities, or at least nearby communities, have a specialized place that offers courses. Another great place to find courses is via the online format. These courses are usually easy to attend, and many courses let the user take the course instruction whenever it is convenient. However, accredited online training tends an edge over more traditional methods of learning since professionals can complete coursework whenever it fits into their schedules.

Some larger corporations may also offer the chance to take an administration course in more distant locations. There are vast amounts of training courses offered throughout the country and the world. If your employer pays for this type of training then it is worthwhile to look at attending some of them. These seminar type courses truly give a more worldly experience and they are an excellent item to include in a resume or curriculum vitae.

There is rarely an easy way to advance your career. However, selecting an appropriate training course is a smart method that is relatively simple and can pay tremendous dividends. Many people come to the workplace with similar skill sets, but advanced abilities and knowledge help almost anyone to advance in his or her chosen profession.

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Developing Communication Skills

Communication is the process of transferring signals/messages between a sender and a receiver through various methods (written words, nonverbal cues, spoken words). It is also the mechanism we use to establish and modify relationships.

Here are some steps and tips to help you develop good communication skills.

Have courage to say what you think - Be confident in knowing that you can make worthwhile contributions to conversation. Take time each day to be aware of your opinions and feelings so you can adequately convey them to others. Individuals who are hesitant to speak because they do not feel their input would be worthwhile need not fear. What is important or worthwhile to one person may not be to another and may be more so to someone else.

Practice - Developing advanced communication skills begins with simple interactions. Communication skills can be practiced every day in settings that range from the social to the professional. New skills take time to refine, but each time you use your communication skills, you open yourself to opportunities and future partnerships.

Make eye contact. Whether you are speaking or listening, looking into the eyes of the person with whom you are conversing can make the interaction more successful. Eye contact conveys interest and encourages your partner to be interested in you in return.

Use gestures. - These include gestures with your hands and face. Make your whole body talk. Use smaller gestures for individuals and small groups. The gestures should get larger as the group that one is addressing increases in size.

Don’t send mixed messages. - Make your words, gestures, facial expressions and tone match. Disciplining someone while smiling sends a mixed message and is therefore ineffective. If you have to deliver a negative message, make your words, facial expressions, and tone match the message.

Be aware of what your body is saying. - Body language can say so much more than a mouthful of words. An open stance with arms relaxed at your sides tells anyone around you that you are approachable and open to hearing what they have to say.

Develop effective listening skills: - Not only should one be able to speak effectively, one must listen to the other person’s words and engage in communication on what the other person is speaking about. Avoid the impulse to listen only for the end of their sentence so that you can blurt out the ideas or memories your mind while the other person is speaking.

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Tips for Career Promotion

Tired of watching other workers advance their career as you continue to exceed all expectations, without promotion, in your current position? Successful workers create their own path to promotion; they don’t rely on luck. Self-promotion is key to your career success.

If you have experienced this situation, even once, you know that you can’t continue to wait for others to decide when you should be offered a promotion. Even if you are not ready to make a job or career change today, you will benefit from knowing how to put into action a successful self-promotion plan.

Unfortunately, if no one knows how much you contribute to the company, you will continue to miss the next great promotion opportunity. Letting people know that you are interested in advancing your career is the first step in an effective self-promotion plan. You can simply advise your immediate supervisor or a representative from your human resource department, but remember the old adage that “actions speak louder than words,” and plan to make a lasting impression.

Create a Career Opportunity

One successful technique is to single out an unresolved challenge that exists in your company. Try to pick a situation that will benefit from your combination of experience and skills. Write a memo that outlines the need you’ve discovered. Highlight how you will use your skills to resolve the problem and contribute to the immediate objectives of the team or department involved. Send your memo to the person who will benefit most from your unique approach, for example, your boss or a human resources representative.

Don’t wait for your organization to discover the same need. By waiting, you take the chance that they may decide to post the position. (If posting positions is policy in your company, at least your name is on the promotion list first.)

Without your proactive approach to your career and potential promotion, they may decide to promote one of your peers. By being proactive, you create a win-win situation. You may gain a challenging, enjoyable career opportunity and eliminate the need for a competition. Even if a new career or promotion opportunity does not result from your actions, you have successfully created an opportunity to demonstrate your value to the organization.You have increased the likelihood that they will consider you for the next rewarding career or promotion opportunity.

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Motivating during tough times

It’s the busy season for your team, and the workload will remain high for the next few months. But already you think staff members are losing steam. In fact, there’s more grumbling about the extra work this year than in the past. What can you do to keep everyone motivated and focused?

Above all, you need to recognize your employees’ low morale before the situation spirals out of control. Burnout, low productivity and, worse, losing a top employee are all dangers of overworking your team. Keeping employees motivated can be challenging, but there are several strategies you can use to get them back on track.

Determine what’s different this time

If employees have rallied in the past during busy times, identify what’s different about the projects on their desks right now. Staff lethargy may not be the result of the work itself but of organizational changes, elevated workloads during the downturn or lack of direction from the top. Whatever it is, diagnose the problem and openly acknowledge it to help the team move forward. Even if you can’t fix the overall corporate culture, you can help create a positive team environment for your department.

Communication is key

Meet with your team collectively and individually to help prioritize workloads. Determine if a portion of a project can be delegated to other employees or even outsourced. Does the group have the right tools to get the job done? Make sure all workers have the administrative support, proper equipment and materials they need.

Be approachable so that employees will give honest updates on the project. You don’t want them to encounter a problem and fall behind because they are afraid to ask for your input. Remember to provide consistent and ongoing feedback.

Revisit who’s doing what

Make sure work assignments play to each team member’s strengths and divvy up the work fairly. Failing to assign tasks to the right people can frustrate other workers and potentially grind the project to a halt. And while you need to encourage an employee’s growth, timing is everything: If the workload is especially heavy, it may not be the right time to “test” an employee’s skills in a new area.

Be generous with praise

Keep in mind that while the team is an entity of its own, it is made up of individual members who may not always get singled out for the kudos they deserve. Make a sincere effort to publicly praise the team, and key standouts, in company newsletters, through emails and at meetings.

Be specific when directly complimenting an employee. Clarify the action or skill that pleased you. For example, did it make your own job easier to receive a report a day early? Was it evident that a project summary required a substantial amount of background research on the part of an individual employee?

Remember, however, that while praise should be openly displayed, criticism should be given in private only.

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Upgrading by training

Finding the right employee training programs can be difficult. Many companies will offer their new employees a mentor to help them get more in sync with the company policies and how everything works.

Going through a company program is a lot cheaper than applying for a class to take when it comes to business and employee skills. Large companies that go through a lot of changes throughout the year will actually often provide the services via training classes as part of the job itself. They can create a break from the daily routines their employees have to fill during their hard day of work.

Many businesses will require a person to be trained and experienced before even applying for certain positions at that facility. When this happens, you can actually go to TNA specialist to make sure you are signed up for the appropriate classes they offer in order to gain the credentials needed for the job. If you already have enough experience and have already been trained in the field then these actions are not needed.

Making sure you have the right training for a job is imperative when it comes to setting up a lifelong career opportunity for yourself. This is because you will want to jump on board with a company long term and be prepared for the road ahead. There is no such thing as having too much knowledge on one particular subject; things are always changing and evolving, especially when it comes to business.

Being trained for certain jobs can help prevent mistakes. Most mistakes can be easily fixed, but others can also lead to disciplinary action when working for a large corporation. The consequences can range from a small warning to suspension without pay.  You definitely do not want to cause problems in your family finances when this happens, especially if you are the sole provider for your family.

A lot of community colleges offer many programs to help train you for certain positions. Applying for these can be beneficial, although they are often costly.  Look into various forms of financial aid. They will probably cost you a little out of pocket to attend if you are doing them just to get more experience on your resume.  Look at this as an investment into your career future.

There are a lot of other resources you can use as well to get the appropriate training you need. Many people will say the web is an excellent source to use when looking for upcoming classes you can enroll in. Sometimes you can even find free programs if you are lucky.

As mentioned before, getting the right employee training has proven to be very beneficial to many people around the world.

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Tips for Team Building

Tips for Team Building

Do you immediately picture your group off at a resort playing games or hanging from ropes when you think of team building? Traditionally, many organizations approached team building this way. Then, they wondered why that wonderful sense of teamwork, experienced at the retreat or seminar, failed to impact long term beliefs and actions back at work. Here are some tips for organizing effective team building session.

  • Form teams to solve real work issues and to improve real work processes. Provide training in systematic methods so the team expends its energy on the project, not on figuring out how to work together as a team to approach it.
  • Hold department meetings to review projects and progress, to obtain broad input, and to coordinate shared work processes. If team members are not getting along, examine the work processes they mutually own. The problem is not usually the personalities of the team members. It’s the fact that the team members often haven’t agreed on how they will deliver a product or a service or the steps required to get something done.
  • Build fun and shared occasions into the organization’s agenda. Hold pot luck lunches; take the team to a sporting event. Sponsor dinners at a local restaurant. Go hiking or to an amusement park. Hold a monthly company meeting. Sponsor sports teams and encourage cheering team fans.
  • Use ice breakers and teamwork exercises at meetings. I worked with an organization that held a weekly staff meeting. Participants took turns bringing a “fun” ice breaker to the meeting. These activities were limited to ten minutes, but they helped participants laugh together and get to know each other – a small investment in a big time sense of team.
  • Celebrate team successes publicly. Buy everyone the same t-shirt or hat. Put team member names in a drawing for company merchandise and gift certificates. You are limited in teamwork only by your imagination.

Take care of the hard issues above and do the types of teamwork activities listed here. You’ll be amazed at the progress you will make in creating a teamwork culture, a culture that enables individuals to contribute more than they ever thought possible – together.


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4 steps to improve employee performance

Step 1

Jot down the differences and similarities among the employees who report to you, and draft an action plan for acknowledging those differences as well as the similarities. Use this planning technique to identify goals for your employees, according to their skills, aptitude and capabilities. One of the traits of an outstanding leader is the ability to develop effective interpersonal communication skills that adapt to the varied work styles, culture and needs of employees. Management and leadership are two separate functions; however, to become a good manager, your leadership style needs to be one that acknowledges the strengths in the different personalities and skills within your work force. An effective manager works to adapt her style so it works for the entire work force, not just a select few employees. Attention to the needs of a diverse work force will encourage your employees to perform well.

Step 2

Exhibit behavior that your employees will emulate; modeling behavior is likely the best way to train employees in the nuances of professionalism in the workplace. When workplace professionalism becomes standard procedure, employee performance improves because your work force is proud of the manner in which they perform duties and interact with internal and external customers. Employees are most likely to exceed job expectations when they have a sense of pride in their work. In addition, praise employees for their efforts and for a job well done. Providing regular feedback to employees is another trait that true leaders and effective managers possess.

Step 3

Reward employees whose performance exceeds expectations and develop performance improvement plans for employees whose performance falls below expectations. Work together with your employees to construct plans that will enhance skill sets and prepare them for future roles within your organization. Investing the time and energy in developing your work force has significant returns. In addition to improving performance, this leadership activity demonstrates you have a vested interest in your employees. This can increase job satisfaction, which can, in turn, raise the level of job satisfaction among your work force.

Step 4

Communicate with your work force on a continual basis. Do not leave your work force uninformed about work policies, organizational change and, importantly, job expectations. Employees who feel they are valued tend to have better performance records and work remarkably well in a collegial and cohesive environment. Without leadership communication, employees will feel unimportant and devalued even if the lack of communication is unintentional. Share all necessary company information that can help employees understand their role in overall business objectives. This technique ensures a fluid exchange of ideas and opinions between a manager and his employees.

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Cultivating staff innovation

Employee innovation takes effort, as the concept of innovation can be intimidating to many employees. It’s important to recognize that innovation includes not just the breakthrough blue ocean opportunities, but that process improvements, new procedures or even a modest change to an existing form can help create better customer experiences or result in new value. Every employee within an organization is capable of innovation, and it’s the responsibility of business leaders to tap into the collective talents, ideas and experiences of their teams. In order to find new ways to engage employees in innovation, you need to understand the five characteristics of effective employee innovation:

1. Cultivate Conversation & Collaboration

To be successful, organizations need to foster dialogues.  For a true two-way dialogue to take hold, management must also engage in the conversation to provide feedback, offer encouragement and help shape idea fragments into actionable opportunities.

2. Tackle Today’s Business Challenges

To generate quick, visible results one should focus people’s attention on current business problems, unit objectives and market opportunities. Challenge employees to tackle specific questions. Problem solving allows employees to start from a common framework and build outward. Ideas and solutions generated from such an approach are more likely to be implemented because they deal with an organization’s most pressing business needs. When employees see that business units value their ideas on real problems, they will be more willing to engage in innovation going forward. Shared problem solving helps build a sense of community and collaboration. When employee-driven ideas match up well with established business priorities, existing business units may already have the staff and infrastructure in place to evaluate, build upon and execute these ideas.

3. Own the Problem — and the Process

Employee innovation cannot happen on its own. To foster a culture of innovation, companies must develop and manage a process to take ideas to action, with success contingent on the involvement of four constituents:

Executive Sponsors: Executive involvement sends a clear message that innovation is a priority for the organization. Those who sponsor idea challenges should be recognized as individuals who have a vested interest in the problem and the wherewithal to act on new ideas.

Management Enablers: A designated team of business leaders should be assigned to each challenge to manage and champion ideas. This group will engage in dialogue with the employee community and take responsibility for identifying which innovations to pursue. They may pose follow-up questions and help build out promising ideas.

Administrators: An employee innovation program will require metrics, reports, communications and support. Program administrators may oversee the process, maintain any necessary technologies or web sites and facilitate end-to-end management. Administrators often have job responsibilities outside of employee engagement or innovation, but some companies may dedicate resources to this particular function.

Employees: Ultimately, the success of any effort depends on the ability to engage employees. Companies can make it easier for everyone to participate by providing multiple ways to get involved. Some employees, for example, will want to create ideas. Others may choose to comment on ideas, add to ideas, or simply vote on which ideas offer the greatest potential. In addition to people, a well-defined process can help replicate and improve results over time. As a creative venture, however, administrators should allow different sponsors and enabling teams some degree of flexibility.

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How You Can Inspire and Motivate Your Employees

You are the owner of a company or you are in charge of its operations, and you are concerned as to the performance of your employees. You see that they are doing their jobs just as you would expect them to, but you feel that they need a little more inspiration and drive in their work. So you set out and search for ways to train and motivate your employees so that they can perform at above-average to even superlative levels. You have this with the future success of your company in mind; of course, any well-meaning leader will always consider the welfare of his subordinates as well. For these reasons, the Training Needs Assessment (TNA) method is an indispensable and fundamental method of training and enhancing the skills and competencies of your workers.

Training Needs Assessment, for it to succeed, should form part of an important though challenging portion of the task that is normally allotted to training specialists and managers within the business or organization. It calls for a fully-conceptualized and –realized training framework that should be conducted at least once a year from the lowest (group, section, or department) to the highest (company-wide or organizational) levels. Indeed, TNA can be conducted occasionally but it does call for intensive preparation and documentation, making it far more challenging than what it appears to be.

For you to properly conduct a Training Needs Assessment process, you should follow these five basic steps:

  1. Decide on the TNA’s proper context and plan accordingly. Its goals should depend on the area to which you should apply the TNA to. The TNA should also address the business framework of its target group within the company and it should then be made accessible to everyone, particularly to those at the higher echelons of the company. This framework should list down your company’s aims and intentions; it would be better if each group and section within your company has their own set goals and objectives which they will strive to work hard for.
  2. Determine the Skill Sets, Psychological Attitudes, Areas of Expertise and Knowledge, and Skills that are needed to be addressed and enhanced. The important thing to realize here is that you are aiming to build upon the particular business section and not on the personal attributes of those who compose that section. This work should be assigned to those who lead that business section; at this stage, the training manager is there only to manage the proceedings.
  3. Bring down the focus from the Business Group position to the responsibilities of those employees who make up that unit. Set out the particular roles and duties that can be filled out and accomplished by each and every employee that composes that business unit or group according to their skills sets, attitudes, mindsets, and knowledge.
  4. Evaluate the present status of the skill sets, knowledge, attitudes, and behavioral attributes of your employees. Each of them should undergo a thorough assessment to determine what roles and capabilities they will be able to do well. When you find breaks in your employees’ capabilities and the roles in which they are supposed to play, specialized training should be done to help mediate those gaps.
  5. Collect all the data that you have garnered from the fourth step. By this time, you should have decided on the type of training or instruction that your employees or units would need for them to properly accomplish the goals that is set for them. This completes the Training Needs Assessment process.

Keep in mind that the TNA method does not end at one occurrence alone. It should be a continuous process that builds up on the previous findings that were collected from the previous TNAs. This way, you can be assured of reaching your company’s set aims and constantly updating on them to suit your company’s changing needs.

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