Practically every executive and managers at all levels are talking these days about needing to get people in their organizations “aligned” or “engaged.” What does that really mean? In essence, it means motivating employees to support the changes their company must make in order to remain competitive in a rapidly changing business world and to provide solutions to its most pressing problems. So how do you know when your team members are “aligned” or “engaged”? Here are some important signs:
- your people feel energized and enthusiastic,
- they have a sense of purpose,
- your team members know the direction they are supposed to go and why it’s important to get there,
- your respective reporting managers understand their company’s and their division’s strategy and how their work and efforts fit into that strategy.
There are a few principles in motivating others that I suggest should be remembered and practiced each day.
- Motivating your employees can only occur if you have motivated yourself first. Enthusiasm is contagious so if you’re realistically enthusiastic about your job it’s much easier for your employees to be so, too.
- Whenever possible, work diligently to align the goals of the organization with the goals of the employees. By this I mean you should do all that you can to ensure that your employees have strong, solid input to help them identify their goals and that these goals are aligned with the goals of the organization.
- Goals should be crafted to be “SMARTER”. We often hear about establishing SMART goals. This has been an adage in business circles for several years. But in view of the new workforce and the recognized criticality of being “aligned” and “engaged” there are some additions to the SMART concept: “specific, measureable, agreed upon, realistic, timely” with the new additions of “extending capabilities and rewarding” i.e. SMARTER vs. SMART. Think through these goals in terms of fostering motivation.
- The real key to supporting the motivation of your employees is taking the time to understand what specifically motivates them individually. The best way to do this is simply to ask them, to listen to them and to watch them.
- Supporting employee motivation is a long-term process, not just a task. In today’s business environment we expect organizations to change all of the time. Well – so do people. It’s an ongoing process to sustain a business environment. If you also look at sustaining employee motivation as a continuing, long-term process, then you will be much more fulfilled and motivated yourself.
- Support employee motivation by using organizational systems such as clear understandable policies and well thought-out, consistently applied procedures. Don’t just count on good intentions.
What I’m saying is recognize the need to establish and cultivate strong personal relationships with employees to help them self-motivate. The nature of these relationships can change significantly however, especially during times of stress. It is a good idea, therefore, to supplement the interpersonal relationship efforts by using reliable and comprehensive systems in the workplace to help motivate employees. Establishing such systems and structures helps to ensure clear understanding and equitable treatment of your employees which, in turn, enhances motivation.
As we have said earlier, these are simply a few ideas and considerations that we include in one of our Executive Development Programs. There is much more detail and far more specific usable information provided in these half and full day courses from PACES, LLC