8 top tips to get the best out of people

You can’t motivate people. A good analogy would be the old adage, ‘you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink ’. So what can you do?

You can provide the conditions that will foster motivation in the workplace. Whether you run a business, lead a team or manage a group of staff, here are my top 8 tips in helping you to get the most out of your staff:

1. Exercise effective leadership
I am always amazed by how little employees know of their company’s strategy and purpose. Engage with your people so that they know where your organisation is heading, its purpose and the ways in which you intend to get there. Don’t let them guess! Tell them, take them with you, inspire, lead…

There is a lovely story (and many versions) of Jack Kennedy visiting NASA space centre back in 1962. Before heading to the boardroom he made a visit to the washroom and had a brief exchange with the janitor. When asked what his role within the company the janitor replied ‘I am helping to put a man on the moon’. Here was someone who understood the importance of his contribution and felt that he was a valuable part of something bigger….isn’t that what most of us want at work?

2. Be motivated
You can’t expect your staff to be motivated when you are not! Develop a positive attitude by replacing negative thoughts with images and pictures of your strengths, successes and achievements (write them down if it helps and have them to hand)

Find out what energises and lifts your mood and utilise it when you are feeling ‘down’. Playing my favourite music very loudly always gets me going! What gets you gets going?

Enthusiasm is infectious. Spread some of it about!

 3. Treat each person as an individual
Get to know your staff on an individual level. Take them out for a coffee, away from the office environment and get to know them. Find out what makes them tick and use it for mutual benefits and to maximise potential

4. Set realistic and stretching goals 
Provide clear goals, expectations and desired outcomes with clear lines of accountability. We all work more efficiently when we understand what we need to need to do and what is expected of us. Setting stretching targets and goals will help to develop your staff and reinvigorate their work appetite

 5. Give feedback 
Feedback on progress helps to spur people on. Give positive and focused feedback all the time. Do it immediately as it reinforces the behaviour you want to see. Focus on specifics and describe the behaviour and its impact. When giving negative feedback ask the team member to assess himself. Get him to diagnose where he went wrong and what he would do differently next time.

 6. Delegate
If someone can do the job just as competently as you can and is paid less, let them do it. As a leader you should be developing and growing your team so that it takes on more and more or your responsibilities. This will enable you to focus on the strategic aspects of your job and so that you can keep on developing yourself, your business and your team

 7. Communicate  Communicate  Communicate
Use a range of communication methods that are clear and timely. Keep staff informed about changes, developments, new services, products. Seek feedback and ask for ideas. Communication is a 2 way process!

8. Reward  Recognise  Praise
These are some of the key ingredients to keeping staff happy at work and none of them need to cost anything. Recognising and praising staff for good work does not need to be cheesy nor expensive. Some genuine words, a card with a well written note, a bottle of wine, cinema tickets… are all inexpensive ways of showing that you value the contribution that they make

What are some of the tips and strategies that you use at work? How do you motivate yourself? Would be delighted if you could share them.


About verawoodhead

I'm an executive coach, leadership facilitator and learning & development consultant working with managers and leaders to develop the skills and behaviours to inspire performance and drive results; achieve promotion ; make successful career changes, be resilient and thrive at work. Within organisations, I help to facilitate better conversations, design learning interventions which deliver practical and lasting solutions aligned to business strategy and goals. Connect with me on Twitter @verawoodhead
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