How to Motivate a Stagnant and Uninspired Workplace

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( — November 22, 2019) — Running a successful business requires strategy, precision, and finesse in dozens of areas. And while there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to building a thriving company, certain investments yield superior results. From a leadership and development point of view, you should be focused on motivation.

5 Ways to Motivate Your Team

Most people think of motivation in a “rah-rah!” sort of context, but it actually goes much deeper than this.

As management consultant Robert Tanner explains, “Motivation is all about our internal desire to accomplish something that is important to us. This motivation (desire) makes us take action. Motivation is about an unmet need that we want to satisfy; it’s about a goal that we want to fulfill.”

You can’t run a successful business without having motivated team members. If you feel like your team is lacking in its overall motivation and drive, here are some practical steps you can take to get back on track:

1. Improve Your Company Culture

The best thing you can do is make your business a place where people want to work. This may require analyzing your company culture and reshaping it so that it’s a pleasant and uplifting place to be.

Company culture is a mixture of the physical environment, workplace policies, and interactions between people. By addressing each of these elements, you can maximize the individual value of each employee – as well as the collective value of the team.

2. Give Employees More Freedom

Every employee, without exception, craves freedom and independence. Nobody likes to be micromanaged. We all want autonomy so we feel like we’re in control of our time and output. And from a management perspective, it motivates employees and enhances trust between superiors and subordinates. Yet despite these concrete truths, very few businesses extend any meaningful amount of autonomy to their employees.

“The biggest mistake I see managers make when it comes to motivation is not giving employees enough autonomy,” entrepreneur Jacob Shriar writes. “Employees often have what I call ‘quasi-autonomy’ where they don’t get to see a project completely through from end-to-end. This is a huge mistake.”

You don’t have to extend total autonomy in every area of an employee’s position, but encouraging freedoms in certain parts of the job can have a profound impact on how people work.

3. Use the Right Incentives

Most managers and business leaders assume that money is the best motivating factor. However, there’s ample research to suggest that other incentives are far more effective.

Money can motivate, but the effects are short-lived. Once the employee receives the money, the motivation dissipates quickly and is completely gone within a matter of days. Other incentives last much longer. For example, people like to be recognized, affirmed, and celebrated. This makes them feel good in the moment, but also gives them mental strongholds to latch onto when they feel discouraged in the future.

4. Hire a Motivational Speaker

While the day-to-day decisions you make will have a long-lasting impact on how your employees feel, there’s something to be said for occasionally hosting events as a way to spark enthusiasm.

Consider bringing in motivational speakers at least once or twice per year to really drive home some important ideas. There’s something powerful about having an outside voice come into the company and reiterate what you’ve been saying all along. It sounds different and can catalyze your team to do great things.

5. Give Employees Something to Strive For

Employees should always have something that they can reach for. Otherwise, it’s easy to become bored, complacent, and unmotivated.

One of the best things you can do for your company is to hire from within. When you hire from within, you show other current employees – as well as future hires – that there’s no ceiling on growth and potential. So rather than working hard with the intention of moving on, your employees will work hard with the expectation that they can move up the corporate ladder and earn more freedom, autonomy, and financial benefits.

How Will You Move?

It’s not enough to have head knowledge. If you want your business to thrive, you must apply the information you absorb. In terms of motivating employees, now’s the time to implement some actionable steps.