Let’s face it; if you are either an individual contributor or leading a team of 2+, motivation can be really, really tough.
Motivation is particular for each individual in varying situations. What remains constant for motivation is the drive for “more.” For example, some motivation can focus on money, purpose, consistency, etc.
In turn, how do we as individuals get to “more” and how do we develop our teams to want “more”?
A few key things to remember about motivation...
- Motivation is inherently there.
- Motivation starts with habits.
- To motivate others, you have to ask the right questions.
In an exert from Susan Fowler Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work...and What Does. She mentions, “Managers worry about how to motivate employees, but they should not waste their energy. All people, including your employees, already are motivated.”. There are many nights I have spent focused on how can I get my team motivated to want “more.” I was asking the wrong question. The people on your team, much like yourself, are already motivated. The question is what motivates them.
Motivation ALWAYS starts with habits. “According to Duke University research, 45% of what people do is habitual” Stanier, Michael Bungay. The Coaching Habit Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever. Box of Crayons Press, 2016.. As a mentor, I am hyper-aware of the habits I build, the habits I have inherited, and how that affects my success and the environment around me. If building motivation individually starts with the right habits, coaching motivation is no different. Michael Strainer, the author of The Coaching habit, mentions that building the proper coaching habit begins with asking the right questions. There are seven questions Strainer recommends.
1. The “Kick-Start” Question
“What’s on your mind?” then use the “3P model” to focus the conversation. The three P’s are:
- “Projects” – Determine what your employee is working on and discuss current assignments.
- “People” – Consider the employee’s relationships with “team members, colleagues, other departments, bosses” and “customers.”
- “Patterns” – Exploring your employees’ habitual behaviors can reveal how you can help them approach and accomplish their jobs more effectively.
2. The “AWE” Question
“And what else?” This builds a greater understanding and allows for further thought development
3. The “Focus” Question
“What’s the real challenge here for you?”
4. The “Foundation” Question
“What do you want?” Like the focus question, the foundation question – and its companion question, “But what do you really want?” – Take you directly to the main challenge.
5. The “Lazy” Question
“How can I help?”
6. The “Strategic” Question
“If you’re saying yes to this, what are you saying no to?”
7. The “Learning” Question
“What was most useful for you?”
Stanier, Michael Bungay. The Coaching Habit Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever. Box of Crayons Press, 2016.
Motivating your self is necessary. Motivating a team is a privilege. Helping your team become problem solvers and work through significant roadblocks creates a bigger picture of growth, culture, and investment in one another. I find mentoring others is one of the most rewarding parts of my role.
How do you motivate your teams for success? What methods do you use?
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