Motivation is a big deal in modern management principles. Anyone can hire workers, assign them tasks and wait for results. It takes a leader to motivate and get people to want to be assigned tasks and produce results.
Sometimes in our quest to get those who are not motivated to do their jobs, we can destroy the motivation of our loyal employees, those who does want to do their jobs. Here’s three big mistakes people make:
1) Big Brother is watching
The power of IT has made monitoring both popular and easy- monitoring web traffic, email, putting in cameras for physical security, guard stations, badges, biometrics… the list of things we do to watch our employees and protect our assets goes on and on. There is a fine line you must walk, however. When you watch your employees, they feel untrusted. Showing a lack of trust in others usually leads them not to trust you in return. They will suspect your motives. What are you up to? Why do you keep watching them? Why don’t you trust them? If you don’t trust them, why don’t you just fire them? Are you looking for reasons to fire them? Going overboard with monitoring is a quick way to an unhappy, high-turnover workforce.
2) Which way does the wind blow today?
Consistency is a key in leadership. People only follow people they trust. They must believe in your competency and ability to achieve goals. This includes having the self-assuredness to stay the path. If you took a cab, and the driver kept changing his mind on which way to go to get to your destination, you’d quickly suspect something was wrong, wouldn’t you? Would you even trust him to get you there? Even if you did, would you think he was getting you there the best way possible?
Inconsistency in logic, goals, rules, or even just daily behavior can undermine people’s trust in your leadership. If a leader appears not to be leading consistently towards a single goal, odds are that the leader’s followers think he doesn’t know how to get to that goal.
3) Forgetting the little people
If you have hired well, your staff probably has a lot of knowledge on board. Some of the people you hire to be specific experts in an area, like developers, systems admins, and such, while others have knowledge because of their experience. Customer service personnel often hear things about what the customers think of a product that your business analysts will never get the customer to say in a focus group. The people in the trenches will always have perspectives that can’t be found in amongst your design teams. Always include the perspective of others in decisions, especially if it is their job to know something about what you are deciding. Excluding experts makes them feel like their opinions are not valued and question their value to the company. If your job is to be an expert in a subject, and you feel that your opinion is not valued, then you feel like you are not valued.
If you do not show your employees that you value them, they will quickly lose respect for you. How can you lead people effectively if you have no respect for them? How can they trust you to look out for them and the things they want to accomplish?
All three of these things boil down to one thing: achieving credibility and respect with your employees. You cannot lead them without their respect. You cannot motivate them without credibility with them. Protect and nurture the respect of your employees. Work to earn it. If they will respect you, they will follow.