Saturday, July 28, 2012

10 Ways You Can Really Motivate Employees – Without Using Money

Here are 10 ideas from my recent podcast and webinar onMotivating Without Money:

Personal over financial

1. Get Personal. Money is the easiest and least personal way to motivate people (if you have money). If you don’t, you need to make the personal effort to get people to actually care about what they are working on.
2. Persuasion vs. Command. Money doesn’t buy loyalty, it only rents effort. We talked about how to persuade people to work for you, and build real loyalty and support.

Remove uncertainty

3. Create Clarity. The biggest demotivator you can have is when people don’t know exactly what to work on or why it matters. Your job as a leader is to create clarity for your team when it does not exist around you – we talked about how.
4. Deal with chaos from above. What about when management keeps changing direction? Or when your team doesn’t agree with, or is skeptical or angry about where management is heading. You still need to find or create points of certainty for your team. We discussed several approaches.

Communicate a lot

5. Communicate on a regular schedule. Clear consistent communication is a magical motivator that so many leaders miss. You get huge points for leadership and credibility when you communicate well.
6. Build Trust. People are always more motivated to work for people they trust, know and respect. People know you through your communications. Set up the right communication plan with the right content on the right schedule.
7. Don’t be Invisible. If you you fail to communicate regularly, you will appear to be checked out, even if you are not checked out. People need to hear from you.

Find out what matters

8. Don’t guess what people care about, ask them! Personally ask each person that works for you. You’ll be amazed at the answers, and how many things you can do without money that will make a material difference to them. I shared several surprising examples!

Say thank you

9. Recognize good work. Create a habit in your organization to recognize the contributions of people. This goes a long way to motivate not just select individuals, but everyone if you do it right.
10. Don’t over complicate it with processes, nominations, reviews, and spreadsheets. Just make it clear to your staff that you want to know when anyone in your organization does something remarkable, and then have one of the executives find a personal, direct way to say, “thank you.”

By Patty Azzarello - founder and CEO of Azzarello Group Azzarello Group

Five Proven Tips to Get Honest Feedback from Your Employees

We all need praise and confirmation. We love to hear: "Hats off! That's a hard act to follow!" It makes us feel like a million bucks. It reinforces our confidence. However: It should be used with the right touch. Too much praise can also be damaging. 

We all need criticism just as much as we need to have our egos buttered up. Anyone who wants to improve needs honest, constructive feedback from their environment. But getting feedback is easier said than done – especially as an executive leader.

Please criticize me, I need it! 

Only last week, I had this demonstrated to me during a coaching session with a successful Managing Director of a mid-sized company. He is enthusiastic, very involved, and demanding, but also empathetic and committed to his employees. His staff highly respect him. 

However, he was frustrated that he only received limited critical feedback from his employees. He told me that he had repeatedly encouraged his employees to openly and honestly criticize him and his decisions. Even so, they appeared to be unwilling to do so. He was wondering why, and what he could do to change it.

The dominant personality

To me, as an outsider, the cause was readily apparent. As a Managing Director, he had developed an intuitive feel for quickly analyzing complex situations, and continuously contrasting his strategies with the operation. He usually makes a host of decisions, and he makes these quickly to continue working efficiently. He has been on his game working like this, and he has been confirmed by his success! 

Here is the problem with this: Without wanting to do so, all these have prevented the criticism of his person that is so important. Employees with limited confidence simply had not the courage to criticize him openly. Most employees were not equipped to handle his direct nature and immediate response. To them, his mannerisms was dominating and intimidating - without this being his intent. 

These were the reasons why his employees were having such a difficult time to express a contrarian opinion during business discussions. To offer critical feedback regarding his behavior was an even more difficult thing to do. 

Feedback as a matter of trust

Employees will only express open criticism if they feel safe. On the other hand, if an employee feels threatened by negative, personal consequences – regardless of their nature – he will obviously not provide honest feedback. 

One bad experiences can be enough to squelch any criticism of your person – regardless of how justified it might be. Therefore, apply the following 5 tips to receive honest feedback from your employees:

1. Accept feedback without judgment!

Make sure that you clearly separate your employee's feedback from your own judgment. If your employee criticizes you, this is a sign of trust. Thank the person for the feedback, but do not immediately respond.

2. Sleep on it for one night!

Take time to think about it. Take a night to think it over. This is what your employee can rightfully expect of you. 

3. Avoid distorted feedback!

If you are given feedback, you should also avoid well meant positive responses, such as: "Thank you, Mr. Smith, that's a really good point." This is already a judgment as well, which you should avoid as a quick response. By doing this, at some point your employee will limit his feedback to what he believes might be useful to you. In the end, your employee does not want to say anything foolish or inappropriate. But the outcome of this is that you will only receive distorted feedback. 

4. Understand criticism as a sign of trust!

How do you respond to hardly relevant, incidental, or from your point of view, even inappropriate criticism? Here as well: It is essential that you avoid spontaneous rebuttals or even gruff answers - at least if the employee presented the criticism in a respectful manner. Otherwise, you will permanently damage the trust relationship. A sensitive employee will then think: "Next time I better won't say anything!"

5. Keep always in mind: “I hear you” does not mean “I agree with you”!

Listen to your employee's criticism without being judgmental. This does not mean that you are in agreement with what was said. Most employees are well aware that expressing feedback does not automatically result in the changes they desire. 

By Bernd Gerop -coach and consultant to CEO’s and entrepreneurs of European High-Tech companies