Don’t fall into the basic carrot and stick trap along with many other managers and small business owners today when you’re looking for the best methods to motivate your team
The carrot, for the most part, tends to be a monetary reward – bonuses, pay raises, and promotions. The stick refers to punitive measures – suspension, demotion, being passed over for promotion, or even termination. While your ability to provide the traditional carrots may be limited by budget and economic climate, it seems that the ability to provide the stick is never diminished and too many managers find themselves with few motivational options.
But there are other kinds of motivation, just look at non-professional sports teams and military units. They’re paid poorly or not at all, but the best coaches and leaders inspire them to do their best.
“No man will work for your interests unless they are his.” ~Dr David Seabury
That quote attributed to the great psychologist, lecturer, and author David Seabury perfectly sums up why so many managers have a difficult time motivating their team.
Some techniques that you can adopt and adapt to motivate your team:
As a leader, you need to encourage bonding between all members of the team. Joint events and experiences where the entire team has to perform as a single unit have a way of creating greater unity in the team. This point has been proven time and again both in sports teams and in the military. And in those units, members try their best because they don’t want to let the others down. Each member of the team feels they are indebted to each other, and they feel that they owe the rest of the team their best effort.
Instill a sense of pride
Case Study: United States Marine Corps
There’s a famous saying – Once a Marine, always a Marine. There is no such thing as a “former Marine”, only Marines and retired Marines. You will often see older gentlemen wearing a t-shirt saying “Not as Lean, Not as Mean, Still a Marine”. Think of all of the Semper Fi bumper stickers you see in traffic.
The United States Marine Corps does such an effective job of instilling not only sense of pride, but an esprit de corps – a sense of team and the greater goal, that this mindset sticks with them for the rest of their lives. Now that’s effective training!
Case Study: Apple Computer
Apple has the most anticipated new technology releases in the business – people camp out for days to be the first in line, and shell out amazing amounts of money to get the latest and greatest gadgets. Yet they have the fewest leaks of photos or details on what their new products will be out of all of the manufacturers in the industry. This can be attributed to one thing – pride of workmanship, and pride in the company.
Apple’s corporate culture is built around secrecy, and this secrecy builds anticipation, which in turn boosts sales and provides that ‘status symbol’ factor to their new products. It would only take one photo, one tweet, one anonymous blog posting to throw away all of that secrecy and anticipation, and possibly create a huge revenue loss. Apple counters this by creating a fierce sense of pride in their employees. Ask any Apple employee, and they’ll tell you how proud they are to work for Apple, and how revolutionary their products are. Just don’t ask them for details on the next iPhone!
Case Study: You
Granted, you may not be the Marine Corps or Apple, instead of fighting enemies of democracy or building must-have gadgets, your company may crank out widgets and more widgets. We can’t all be astronauts, but our jobs are all important, and as an effective leader it’s part of your duty to ensure that your team is properly motivated, is proud of what they do, and feels as if their contribution is critical to the success of the team. You will encourage the best efforts from your team by making sure that they take pride in their inclusion, and pride in what your company produces as a whole.
Remember that as team leader, the success of your team reflects on you and your abilities. If you want your team members to perform at their best then they have to want to do their best. And for them to want to do their best, you have to prove to them that it’s in their interest for the team to succeed. When you succeed as a team, the success isn’t just yours as a manager – it’s the team’s.
Every team member may have the famous WIIFM question “What’s In It For Me?” in the back of their minds, and they look to leadership for an answer that would motivate them to work for and with the team instead of just for themselves. If you achieve this, then not only do you enhance their participation and effectiveness, but you will also find that these people will encourage your other members to do their best as well.
Learning how to motivate your people should be part and parcel of your team building