Wednesday, October 28, 2009

4 Ways Leaders can Create a Motivating Work Environment

Women in Business crafted an article titled, Motivating Staff Without Money: Four Budget-Free Ways to Move Forward.  The article outlines four ways leaders can create a motivating work environment. Taking advantage of them don't cost a lot of money, but they aren't designed to be cheap. They are designed to be effective in developing people and improving business.

Perceptively they note that,  contrary to popular perception, your job as a manager is not to motivate your staff. Motivation is internal. Instead, you are responsible for creating an environment in which people can motivate themselves.

Perhaps one of their suggestions will be of benefit to you or spawn a new approach unique to your organization. I quote and have adapted from their original article.

Operate in an Atmosphere of Open Communication - More companies adhere to the philosophy of minimal communication rather than "open book" management. In other words, senior management often assumes that the less employees know, the better.

This doesn't make for a motivating environment. A few simple suggestions:

  • Research your organization and its competition on an Internet. Get that competitive blood flowing. Have them improve the public presentation of your company.

  • Get listed in Who's Who in Finance and Industry or Ward's Business Directory. Seeing your name lets you know you matter and are a contributor.

Yes, it is simple, but build on it.

Recognize People with Potential - Nothing says confidence and trust like putting someone in a position of leadership with the ability to make decisions.

  • Placing future leaders into management development roles. This is not only good for the individual but for the long term success of the company.

  • Give your employees more responsibility to test their leadership skill. Some will rise to the challenge. Others may not. But you will be developing capacity all the while.

Respect and recognition are two proven ways to retain employees.

Support External Training Workshops - People are much more inclined to feel like they're making a positive contribution to your organization if they're in a learning curve.  Challenge them to challenge themselves.

  • Training organizations offer countless one-and two-day offsite workshops. The cost is minimal. Two or three seminars per employee per year may add very little to your overhead budget and allow employees a one-day "sabbatical" to reflect on their careers as well as to reinvent themselves in light of your company's changing needs.

There may be a very good return on investment from providing relevant, practical workshop opportunities. I would suggest having some accountability attached to it. Develop a method whereby the employee provides feedback after the workshop on how the learning will be best integrated into their day to day work or translated into department, team or company practice.

Welcome OpinionBy empowering people, you telling them that they matter to you and your business. By listening to them, they may even have some good ideas about how to make things smoother or more profitable.

Listen to employees. Listening to people may not always be easy, but it can be very beneficial. And when those gems appear that empower the individual and strengthen the organization, you will understand that the effort put into inviting comment and listening to it was more than worth it.

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