Category Archives: Motivational Skills

Leadership and Employee Motivation

Beautiful Obselescence

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Leadership can always improve employee motivation by tweaking a few key factors. Employee motivation can be a difficult task for managers and leaders when the dominant company culture is lax. It can be extremely challenging to tackle a workplace culture of laziness that has invaded and become the norm. Motivating employees is all about intrinsic reward and satisfaction. Leaders must be able to tap into this internal drive for achievement to get employees motivated. Ray Williams writes more in depth on the subject below. 

It turns out that people are motivated by interesting work, challenge, and increasing responsibility–intrinsic factors. People have a deep-seated need for growth and achievement. Herzberg's work influenced a generation of scholars and researchers–but never seemed to make an impact on managers in the workplace, where the focus on motivation remained the “carrot-and-stick” approach, or external motivators.

What do we mean by motivation? It's been defined as a predisposition to behave in a purposeful manner to achieve specific, unmet needs and the will to achieve, and the inner force that drives individuals to accomplish personal and organizational goals. And why do we need motivated employees? The answer is survival. Motivated employees are needed in our rapidly changing workplaces, and to be effective, managers need to understand that and do something about it.

…More at How to motivate employees | Psychology Today

Leaders require employees who are motivated because motivated employees are the work-horses of the office. They are go-getters who want to succeed for themselves which translates into success for the company. Leaders can and should develop a methodology for designing projects that are intrinsically pleasing to their team. This is not to say that you need to make up work for your team but rather you should adjust your presentation method and frame the project in light of how it will impact the company and the team by working on it. In other words, give the project purpose or meaning. Leadership can always improve employee motivation by tweaking a few key factors.


What is Employee Engagement?

gate- free premade background

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So you hear the term 'employee engagement' offhand several times and this last time you hear it you think to yourself 'what is employee engagement?' Employee engagement is a term that at its very core describes how much an employee cares about their work. There are differences between an employee who is engaged and one who is not that are readily visible if you watch them work side-by-side. An engaged employee is helpful and will support their teammates or co-workers if needed. An employee who is not engaged will keep track of the time and have their computer and work station shut down to make a quick exit at the end of the day. Kevin Kruse, a contributor for Forbes Magazine, brings us more information on what employee engagement is and is not. 

Definition: Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.

This emotional commitment means engaged employees actually care about their work and their company. They don’t work just for a paycheck, or just for the next promotion, but work on behalf of the organization’s goals.

When employees care—when they are engaged—they use discretionary effort.

…More at What is Employee Engagement? | Forbes

Employee engagement is a must-have to keep your business looking forward. Research shows that companies with engaged employees enjoy a profit margin above those without. Retaining a batch of engaged employees is one goal of any leadership team. Kruse points out that happiness and satisfaction are not what define employee engagement but I would argue that they are components that can engage employees and strengthen the emotional commitment they hold. Can you define employee engagement for your workforce? As yourself and the rest of your leadership team the question, what is employee engagement and what does it look like at our company?


Leaders Can Motivate Their Employees With These 10 Ideas

Halo over Moscow

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Try these 10 ideas for leaders looking to motivate their employees. Motivation is a tricky prospect because a balance is needed between too little and too much reward. Incentivizing employees with perks beyond salary and benefits is sometimes necessary to get employees focused and motivated again. Each company's leaders must decide what is right for their work force as well as their business. Ten great ways to motivate employees are presented by Patricio Robles

It's nice to believe that a 'good job' offering a decent salary and reasonable benefits package will do the trick, but in today's highly-competitive business environment, the truth is that it's more complicated than that.

The devil is often in the details, and motivating employees requires a thoughtful approach to compensation, benefits and perks — both tangible and intangible. Here are 10 specific things companies can offer employees to keep them motivated.

…More at 10 ways to motivate employees | Econsultancy

Keeping employees motivated, happy and healthy is great for business. People who are more engaged in their work are more productive and enthusiastic employees. Motivation can come in many forms but one of the surest ways is to get people to be intrinsically motivated to succeed. This, unfortunately, is also the most difficult method of motivation but is by far the best method. Be sure to read all 10 ideas for leaders to motivate their employees with. Try a few on this list today and let us know what works for you. 


How Leadership Can Bolster Achievement With These 5 Actions


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Here are five actions that leaders can take to bolster achievement. Achievement is frequently oberved to happen in only a moment. What is often lost in the picture of achievement is all the hard work that went into that final moment which produced a spectacular achievement. Untold hours of preparation are almost sure to precede any great achievement. David Byrd gives us five great actions that leaders can encourage in their employees to start reaping the rewards of high achieving employees.

Achievement is, again, simply doing the right things consistently over a sustained period of time, and the “sustained period of time” comes to you moment by moment, one day at a time. The quality of your daily choices and actions are measured by their effectiveness, and it is the quality of that effectiveness that determines the degree of your achievement.

Highly effective leaders achieve greatly while ineffective leaders deliver sporadic results and low quality achievement. The difference between these two groups is this: the consistent effectiveness of their actions. You have been blessed with the significant power and freedom to choose. Those goal-directed, consistent, daily choices and actions are the stepping-stones to your future. Choose today to be an effective leader who is committed to consistently effective action that leads to achievement!.

..More at Blog Archive » Top 5 Consistent Actions That Lead to Achievement

Achievement is earned through hard work and dedication. High achievers will display certain characteristics that allow them to perform better than their peers. A high achiever will be one who makes effective choices with a positive attitude. People who strive for achievement are very focused and remain accountable for their actions. When someone is able to consistently incorporate these actions into their work then they will be ready to start achieving awesome outcomes. How is your leadership doing with these five actions to bolster achievement.


Leaders: Here are 5 Ideas for Keeping Employees Motivated

Rainy Day Inspiration :: You Must Believe In Yourself!

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Five ideas for leaders to keep employees motivated. A great leader has the ability to bring out the best in their team. One skill that every leader must deftly perform is keeping employees motivated. Keeping employees motivated is a task that every leader will come up against when leading a team for any length of time. Stagnation is a burden to success in business and one to be avoided. Employee morale is a key component of successful companies. Guy Farmer brings us five ideas on how to keep employees motivated. 

It can be challenging to keep employees motivated in any organization in the face of deadlines, workloads, interpersonal conflicts, rules and directives. Proactive leaders are able to motivate their employees even when times get tough because they understand how to help people inspire themselves instead of forcing them to think and act a certain way. Here are some practical ideas on how to keep your employees motivated:

1. Praise employees. Catch people doing things well and let them know that you value their work. Praise desirable behaviors, it will increase the likelihood that people will behave that way in the future. Reinforce positive behaviors rather than correcting people when they’ve, “Done something wrong.”

2. Design and implement motivational activities. Create a weekly program in your workplace where people celebrate each other. You’ll appreciate how much you can boost morale by setting aside twenty minutes weekly so people can praise each other for a job well done.

…More at How to Keep Your Employees Motivated Guy Farmer

An effective leader has to find a way to keep their team together working toward a common goal. Providing your team with a unified purpose with clear goals will go a long way in building a foundation of teamwork that will breed success. People want to be valued with meaningful work so engaging people in work that they feel makes a difference is key. Be committed to your plan for motivating employees by offering incentives and activities that value hard work and dedication. Employ these five ideas for keeping employees motivated. How do you inspire greatness in your workforce?


Motivational Skills That Drive Others

I love the video link for Daniel Pink‘s book Drive shows motivational skills that drive others. We all strive to find what motivates others and this RSA Animate presentation gives a great synopsis of his book.


As this clip shows, motivation sometimes comes from providing autonomy, mastery and purpose. Providing your team with these three things can improve forward focus.

What motivational skills that drive others can you incorporate today?


Musings on Leadership – Recognition

James, I think your cover's blown!

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Everyone wants recognition. Don’t believe me? Think about it – a desire for recognition starts early. As an infant we cried for recognition that we needed something. As we became toddlers and could voice our needs and wants, we said “mom” repeatedly or may be poked our mom until she stopped what she was doing and paid attention to us.

In large that is all that we are looking for in recognition. It isn’t just about getting praise for a job well done. It is about being acknowledged.

Shift your focus from yourself to the team.

All great leaders put their team’s interests ahead of their own. As Jack Welch counsels new leaders, “It’s about them, not about you.” Think about why each person is involved and what’s in it for him or her if the team succeeds. Set up touch points that have value for each team member – financially, professionally or intrinsically. For example, before sending your next email, think about what additional value – such as information sharing, recognition or coaching – you can add beyond addressing the specific task at hand. Can you share an update on a related project? Maybe you can provide a strategic view of how this work fits into the bigger picture. Is there something the team has recently done that deserves praise? Moving from a task focus where you manage others to a mission-led focus where you serve your team opens up the potential for deeper engagement, better alignment and higher performance….More at Managing Virtual Teams: Three Keys to Success

Trish Gorman’s suggestions apply not just to the virtual team, but to any team. Further, recognition can be as simple as awareness of the individuals on your team. If you know your team and put them first, you will find greater success. Recognition big and small count in their eyes.

More Reading


7 Benefits to Leading Change Through Forward Focus

In our earlier posting on Leading Creativity Through Forward Focus I talked about some experiences of play and creativity, how only about 20% of us retain that creativity, and asked how we can maintain or find it again. Today I want to focus on a few ideas for play or creativity at work and 7 benefits to leading creativity through forward focus.

Deer Hand Puppet ~ 1 of 6 photos
A few ideas that Leo Babauta had for bringing play into your life…
  • Make a game of computer tasks — see how fast you can get your inbox to empty (set a timer)
  • Give yourself points for checking off your tasks, and see how many points you can get each day
  • Skip instead of walk
  • Imagine you are in a movie when you walk into a meeting
  • Give yourself challenges
  • Make bets with friends when it comes to doing things you don’t normally like doing…More at Infusing Play into Mundane Tasks :zenhabits

What are the benefits of leading creatively through forward focus?

  1. Vision – the big picture becomes clear, gains more buy-in, grows with new ideas. Allowing others to let down their guard opens their mind to the wonders of the future instead of closed to the moment with no hope of a better future.
  2. Improved problem solving – creative thinkers see more options than reactive thinkers do. In reactive mode we see a limited set of options or worse yet only one. Creativity allows a brain-storm of ideas to flow and a mix of ideas that if used alone are not enough.
  3. Knowledge growth – share the creativity. Ideas and knowledge flow from different trains of thought and backgrounds. Sharing that knowledge allows others to grow, to begin to explore new ideas. You and your followers will grow.
  4. Mindset change – followers begin to see creativity. This can bring a more open environment. A more welcoming environment, not stuck in “this is how we do it” mode. Ideas previously shelved in the back of someone’s brain leaps to the front to improve productivity and morale. The projection of play and creativity can be contagious and create a better mindset for those around you.
  5. Better, more effective communication – explanation and expansion of ideas opens new pathways and allows us to see the way others communicate. If we know how different people communicate, communications can be modified to make the message more effective and easier to follow.
  6. Better service – from different ideas on how to best assist the client or customer. Whether it is an internal customer or an external one, if served by someone with the ability to use creative approaches to their need, they will feel better served.
  7. Influence – when handled as an individual with unique needs and preferences to approach, people will be more influenced. It is an opportunity to develop new relationships and further your reach with customers, coworkers or direct reports. They begin to look to you for guidance and feedback.
Bringing an element of play into your environment, your leadership. Open the doors to creativity and a future of what is possible.
We would love to hear how you are leading creatively through forward focus.



Leading Creativity through Forward Focus

Leading Creativity through forward focus

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The ideas of leadership and play when combined provide an opportunity to lead creativity through forward focus. What do I mean?

Think back, way back, to when you were a kid with all the energy and imagination that went with it. Can’t think back that far, then look at the world through the eyes of a child. One that comes to mind is with my son. All of 2 years old at the time, he decided that I must lay down on the kitchen floor to watch as two ants scurried across it. My first thought – get the ant spray and squish the ants. Yet I hesitated just long enough to lay down on the floor and listen to my son explain that the ants were on a parade and all the fun places the parade would see. Such as going down a slide,stopping at the beach, and visiting a picnic or two along the way. For that short time, I watched the ants through his imagination. He saw the possibilities that lie ahead, he had forward focus. I will do my best to make sure he doesn’t lose the creativity of that moment.

After all only about 20% of us will retain creativity in our lives. Not sure where you fall? Consider this – when you think about leading your team are you seeing the cannot or the can?

If you are among the 20% that thinks creatively, you are thinking about the can and changing the cannot to can. For the other 80% the to do list is daunting list with lots of cannot. As children our creativity flowed endlessy from crazy made up creations with Legos® to acting out whole scenarios with Barbie® orG.I. Joe®. Somewhere along the way we have lost many of these needed skills. How can we maintain it or find it again?

Leo Babauta had some similar experiences to my ant parade and explores how to infuse your day with creativity (play)….

You can’t always enjoy what you’re doing, right?

Actually, you can. You just have to remember what it’s like to be a child.

Sure, there are things we have to do every day that we might think are boring: household chores, errands, routine tasks at work, being in a meeting that’s makes you want to pound your head on the table. But those are only boring because we’ve chosen to make them boring.

Let’s take my 6-year-old daughter Noelle as an example. She had to go to the dentist, which is a pretty routine thing for most people. We took the train and then walked a few blocks. In the train, she sang, found things fun to see out the window, played games with me. As we walked, she talked about how the building the dentist is in might possibly reach the blue stuff in the sky, and wanted to bet me that it actually did (10 hugs if I won, $1 if she won). The elevator ride to the 18th floor was like a roller coaster ride to her.

Everything she does becomes a game, an opportunity for wonder and exploration, or at the very least an opportunity to sing a song. She’s never bored. Why is that?

Because she doesn’t see anything as boring. Everything is new, and there’s always a game you can play.

We can do that too. Every chore can be turned into play. Every walk to the store can be infused with beginner’s mind, so that we see our surroundings afresh, ripe for exploration. Every boring work task can be turned into a challenge, a game.

It is amazing to see what we can learn from the children around us. They bring creativity to everything they do – now is the time to begin leading creativity. Do you want to know the benefits of leading creativity through forward focus? Look for the 7 Benefits to Leading Creativity Through Forward Focus next week.


Play fosters belonging and encourages cooperation.
- Stuart Brown, MD

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Do You Dare Your Employees To Dream?


Be Honest About Which Goals Really Matter to You

Be honest about which goals really matter to you.

If you are like most people you have thoughts about different kinds of projects and goals you would like to accomplish. What I’ve noticed recently is that most people, including myself, don’t act on those dreams and visions as often as we would like.

To overcome this problem, you need to be honest about which goals really matter to you. I found this wonderful article  that sheds some light on why our ambition seems to diminish when it comes to things we say we think we want to do.

Be Honest About Which Goals Really Matter to You

I have been challenging myself a lot lately regarding my goals and dreams. I say I want to XYZ, but if I am honest, there are many signs that should tell me that I really don’t want to do this. It is a goal I want to want. Something that I think would be interesting to want. But I have to push myself to get enthused about it.


Here is an example. I have been saying for many years that I wanted to get my PhD. I even enrolled in a great program and was underway. It was a slog for all the usual reasons including that I was working full time and trying to have a life. I thought this was normal and it is to a point. But even if I had all the time in the world it would be a slog. And now I can be at peace and tell you I really don’t want a PhD. I wanted to want it.


Quitting the program hurt because I had already made an investment. But is it ever right to continue spending time and money when it’s no longer a goal? No, it is not (especially if you do not need the credential/outcome, which I don’t). Read the full article here…


I am pretty sure all of you have your own examples of times when you “wanted to want” a certain goal and may have even felt a twinge of guilt about not getting it done. Isn’t it time to  be honest about which goals really matter to you? It’s actually a  very good feeling to let go of those things you have no real ambition for and to embrace one thing that means the most to you. As you can see, understanding this concept is important for good leadership.

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