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.


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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Motivating Employees


A business that is suffering from poor performance problems with its employees may need to have a TNA, training needs analysis, prepared to assess what exactly the problem may be. The purpose of this analysis is to identify whether the company’s workforce has the knowledge, abilities, and skills necessary to perform their jobs accurately. It will identify who actually needs training and what type of training they may need. This comes in handy because it is unproductive to offer training to those who do not need it, or offer the wrong type of training to those who do need it. New hires and veteran employees may benefit from training, but possibly not the same type.

Offering the right kinds of training can benefit the company more than by just having knowledgeable employees. Most people continue to learn their entire lives. By offering training to the employees, it tells them they are valuable to the company. This can motivate them to want to stay with that employer because they will see it as an opportunity to grow within the company and advance their career. By motivating the employees, they will try harder to do their best at their current job.

There are several different types of training needs analysis that can be used to see if training is what is needed and whether it would be worth the efforts of getting training programs in place. The work/task analysis looks at the actual job being performed and what the main duties are as well as skill level required to perform them. It will establish whether or not training for the work being performed is needed or not. A performance analysis shows whether or not employees are performing up to the established standard needed and if not, will training help fix this problem.

There are many reasons to conduct a training needs assessment such as many new employees, new equipment or procedures being developed, performance problems, or need for higher ranked employees. It is possible that the employees knew the need for training before the company did, however kept it to themselves for fear or termination.

There can be a drawback to needs assessments; if the employees are led to think their job is at stake, they might attempt to trick the assessment so as to not lose their job. A good way to keep this from happening is to make sure they understand the point behind the training analysis is not to remove current employees, but to find out if training is necessary to do their jobs better. If advancement opportunities are being made available because of the training needs analysis, make sure they are aware of it. This can motivate them to try their best. If they still seem worried, try offering a bonus or reward for taking the training needs analysis such as a monetary reward, a fun day, free tickets to a game, a raise, or other methods of praising them. This will show them they are valuable employees and the company is just trying to improve them and their performance.

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