This isn’t the case in every business. However, it’s true in a lot of. Managers don’t always understand their employees. They aren’t able to motivate, inspire, or correct employees efficiently. When I am working for my customers, I get the same concerns over and over again: “How do I get my employees to…
…do anything more than the minimum?”
…contribute to meetings?”
…show up at the right time?” etc.
I also get all sorts of solutions for every scenario. Certain suggestions are great, but some aren’t. The most effective suggestions demonstrate an appreciation of human nature and the determination to implement ethical principles. The worst ones are usually nice to the manager; however, they are in violation of a fundamental concept of human relationships.
Human behaviour is a challenging topic. But, what seems to be random, isolated events actually follow common patterns for the majority of people. If you are aware of the patterns, then you’ll be aware of what you should do in most situations. I’ve created five Be’s of Motivation to simplify the patterns to five easy to remember and to apply principles.
So, let’s get started…
1. Be positive
People act because of one of two reasons to avoid pain or to seek pleasure. As an administrator, you must switch between these two choices. If you employ negatives – like threats, verbal reprimands or other punishments to influence behaviour, the employees will just do their best to avoid pain. They will be forced to accept the minimum effort of your employees. If you place emphasis on rewarding good behaviour, it increases the likelihood that you’ll receive cooperation and more discretionary effort instead of disputes, conflicts and minimum performance.
Recognizing unacceptable behaviour and stopping them by imposing punishment is simple. It requires effort to spot good behaviour and then praise it. You must perform both, but the more you can recognize the positive and positive, the less likely you are to notice the negative.
2. Be specific
Be sure to speak only about specific actions. If you enforce discipline or give praise, the more precise you are in your communication, the more effective.
An emotional reaction (anger) caused by an unpleasant situation can make the task of identifying the problem more difficult when it comes to discipline. One example is when one of your employees regularly demands that you attend meetings. People are often angry over the situation and instruct employees to “stop acting rude and inconsiderate.” But, “rude” and “inconsiderate” are interpretations of the behaviour rather than actual behaviours. An alternative would be, “I don’t appreciate it that you challenge and interrupt me. I view these behaviors as unprofessional and rude. I will not do that to you and I wouldn’t expect you to do the same to me.” (I would suggest that you do it at a private location.) Based on the circumstances, you may consider further disciplinary measures in accordance with the company’s history and workplace guidelines. If you decide to pursue additional actions or not, you should focus on specific behaviour rather than interpretations.
Here are a few examples:
Rude, inconsiderate, insulting, arrogant, rude Unfocused, flimsy, smart, and arrogant are all interpretations.
Interrupting, rolling eyes talking loudly (or in a peaceful manner), shrugging shoulders, turning away, walking away, or using a tone of voice are some of the behaviours.
3. Make sure
People make decisions based on what they anticipate to occur to them in the near future. If it’s trying to avoid discomfort or seeking pleasure, it’s always about expectations. Your employees should be aware of – without any doubt – what they should expect from your company based on what they do.
Be sure that everyone is aware of the guidelines for the workplace. It is ideal for recording anything important to the operation. I wouldn’t recommend that you create your employee handbook to look similar to its counterpart to the Code of Federal Regulations. However, you must have written and clearly defined expectations regarding behaviour for your company. Employees must be aware of the rules. They must be aware of what to be expecting when they adhere to the rules and what to expect if they do not.
4. Be Consistent
Consistency functions in close cooperation with Certainty. It’s the counterpart to Certainty in the everyday effort to build a highly-performing and results-oriented team. If you fail to consistently enforce the rules of your workplace, then your employees will never be able to feel confident.
Consistency is applicable to both negative and positive behaviours. If you declare that you’ll reward certain behaviour and you do, always be sure to reward them. If you declare that certain actions are unacceptable, be sure to take steps to end them.
5. Take Action Now
Do it now. If your employees accomplish an act worthy of praise, immediately do it. If they are in need of correction, make it happen immediately. The delayed consequences have a very small effect on behaviour.
I’ll illustrate this with my actions.
I like cheesecake. The pleasure of eating cheesecake has immediate and long-term consequences. The negative effect for me in the future is as I may suffer from a weight loss or blood pressure issue. The immediate result is positive because it is delicious and brings me joy. If I am offered the chance to purchase cheesecake, it is difficult to resist, even knowing the negative effects. Why? The immediate positive, certain aspects tend to obscure the future’s potential negative.
The ability to act immediately can be an advantage in cases of inappropriate behaviour. If the behaviour persists indefinitely without correcting it, you are likely to become angry every time you observe it. When you are angry and more frustrated, you’ll likely be more unable to keep your responses in proportion to the situation (i.e. you’re not blowing the stack). Take action now, and you’ll be better equipped to maintain your self-control.