Understanding motivation at work: Management Tips

Published by | Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

No matter how much talent your team members have, you’ll only get their best efforts when everyone feels properly motivated.

Many practicing managers are misinformed about what it means to motivate a team. They think that yelling or screaming or threatening will motivate people. They think that simply offering money will motivate people. Not true. Fear–based tactics can get you short-term compliance—but they’ll undermine your team’s long-term commitment and motivation. And money can be a useful motivator, but it’s often just a distraction that interferes with focusing on the inherent purpose of our work.

What works best for motivating teams? In this week’s first management tip, I’ll show you several ways to motivate, including nonmonetary rewards, and goal setting. In particular, goal setting can be so useful that I’ve dedicated my second tip to using “BHAGs”—which stands for Big Hairy Audacious Goals. One of the problems with goal setting is that we often set tiny incremental goals. BHAGs shake up that reality by reminding us of the occasional need to think big.

Motivating your team is difficult, but vital. The good news is it doesn’t have to cost much, and it’s a skill you can learn. Get motivated to motivate your team with this week’s videos, and check back next week for more Management Tips.

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