When I was first starting out in sales one of the things that motivated me the most was winning. Duh, right? I wanted to be the person who was leading the pack. A weekly leaderboard or scoreboard was sent out weekly and I wanted to be the one at the top.
Fast forward to when I became a manager, I used these same processes and tools to lead and motivate others. I can remember vividly sitting down and having a conversation with a team member and making the statement “Don’t you want to be at the top of the leaderboard?”
Their reply, “Nope, I don’t care about the leaderboard!” I am not here to debate whether or not a person in sales should or should not want to be on the leaderboard. That is another story for another day.
Here is the mistake I made as a young leader. I assumed that what motivated me and pushed me to work harder was the same thing that would motivate and push someone else. As I found, that just wasn’t the case.
I recently was working with a group of leaders and we discussed the three things that demotivate versus motivate us, which in turn if you are in leadership could demotivate your team members.
- Assuming what motivates us will motivate them.
My story above makes this case, but I see it everywhere and it is a fundamental flaw I have found to be true in many leaders in organizations. Unfortunately, one of the problems with leadership over time, is that they tend to hire people just like themselves. Which makes it even easier to assume that our team members will be motivated by the same things that motivate us.My advice is to learn your employees motivations and desires. What is it that they want out of their position? Where are they looking to go in their career. Questions such as this will give you insight on how to properly motivate and lead your team.
Sarcasm is a tactic that many leaders use. I see it more as a weakness. Instead of being truthful with your employees you instead decide to be indirect hoping to get a response that is positive. The reason it doesn’t work, is because is decreases trust and is looked at as a sign of weakness more than strength.Additionally most people are smart enough to know what you are trying to do with sarcasm. So it actually becomes a double negative for a leader who uses it. Trust erodes and perceived weaknesses are increased. Both of these conditions make it difficult to motivate and inspire employees to produce more and accomplish more.Lastly, most people don’t think it is funny. And they don’t appreciate it. Quit telling yourself that they do. Be direct and tell them how it is. They will appreciate the directness more and respect you more as well.
- Poor Manners.
It is true “everything you need to know you learned in kindergarten.” I think that was a book. Simply put. You need have to have basic manners. Things such as “please”, “thank you”. Ask for permission and staying positive. These are little things. But they go along way to showing your team members that you respect them.
Now that you are aware of these three behaviors. The big question is “Which ones do you need to work on?”
Unfortunately, we as humans are not very good at assessing our own behaviors. Matter of fact 90% of the people who demonstrate these behaviors haven’t read this far. But if you are still reading. I would encourage you to ask for feedback from your team and ask them which ones of the above you need to work on. Their answers may surprise you.
To your success and your future.