One of the biggest leadership challenges is motivating employees. As a leader, wouldn’t you love a team that is motivated, committed, empowered!

Let’s take a look from the employee perspective as to what motivates them.

People need to know they matter!

When employees are unhappy and you ask them what’s missing, the most common response is that they don’t feel appreciated.  People want to be appreciated, respected and acknowledged.  For some this is even more important than money, power, prestige or fame.

Appreciation and acknowledgement often go hand in hand.  Appreciation is to recognize, admire, and be grateful or thankful for something someone did.  While acknowledgment is more about recognizing and being grateful for how they are being.  An example would be:  “Thanks for getting your report to me in time for my meeting.  I acknowledge you for putting in the extra effort to make this happen.”

Start noticing what your employees are doing that’s working and let them know.  Some leaders struggle with this because they think, “It’s their job and they should be doing x,y,z.  I don’t need to recognize them for that.”  Often, no words are spoken unless the “boss” is not happy with something.  Then, they start speaking about what they don’t want.  This is the fastest way to get what you “don’t want”.  Have you ever heard when one tells a child, “Don’t walk into the street!” they hear “Walk into the street.”?  Choose your words carefully! 

Motivational leaders know how to motivate their employees without negativity, fear and intimidation.  Employees who have to operate in this environment are less motivated and effective because they are spending time on protecting and defending themselves.  People respond much better to positive reinforcement (appreciation and acknowledgement) then they do to negative criticism.  They are more empowered, committed, motivated and productive.

It’s time to make a commitment to start sharing your acknowledgments freely.  Turn up the volume on appreciation, acknowledgement and recognition and turn the volume down on negativity, criticism and complaints.  Stand back and watch the miracle occur!

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