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If motivating others feels like moving mountains, you’re doing it wrong.

Frequently, we receive requests for help on how to motivate people. The truth is no matter your title or tenure, the most powerful motivation is intrinsic or internal to the employee and doesn’t come from you at all. But, if you wish to inspire a motivating environment and mitigate the most negativity from an unmotivated workforce, here are a few simple suggestions:

Give Them a Job They’ll Love

Much like Lance Armstrong is a better athlete due in part to his lung capacity, there are things that those you lead will do better because they are naturally more gifted at it, than anyone who practices all day every day. Give those you lead the opportunity to do what they love, as often those things we love are the very things we are naturally good it. This begins when you hire them and making sure there is a good job/skill/interest fit. In other words, giving a “people person” the role of bookkeeping and a quiet cubicle in the corner is a GREAT way to demotivate that team member… FAST!

Give Them Freedom

Sometimes freedom means permission to grow … elsewhere, but usually freedom means that you would give an employee input, use of their own ideas and suggestions (to the degree it doesn’t damage the initiative) and a chance to be creative in their solutions. Some don’t want this kind of freedom and would rather merely take your direction. The question then becomes “Did you train the initiative out of them?” or are they perhaps, burnt out? The latter option then brings us back to giving them permission to try something new that might rekindle their motivation, even if that means growing… elsewhere.

Clear Their Clutter

Clutter is big business… particularly when you are talking about stuff. If clearing out stuff is not your forte, look up a professional organizer or seek out a local National Association of Professional Organizers member. However, clutter can also mean busy work, those who keep them from being busy because they are dead weight on the team and everyone knows it, AND outdated policies and procedures that block employees from doing the job well. Your role as a leader is to make their job easier and more fulfilling, in some respects. What clutter is creating a block to the team’s motivation?

Motivation of team members is critical and essential, but it’s also a partnership. In fact, it’s even contagious. When they figure out you really care about their feelings of motivation about the job, they are likely to then care more about your motivation to lead. It’s a beautiful thing when it all comes together.

Stay contagious!

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