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The keys to motivation


 This week, we start a series on the holy grail for managers - a motivated team.

Where does great performance come from?  Clearly, it must come from inside each individual somewhere but what are the factors that affect the performance of the people within your team?  This is the Holy Grail for managers - the dream of having a team that gives of their best not because they’re told to, not because they’re forced to but because they want to.

There was a lot of talk a few years ago about how organisations were under increasing pressure to do “more for/with less” - to achieve greater results in less time, with smaller budgets and with fewer resources.  This was trumpeted at the time as being a great insight but business, from the time that man first started to trade, has always been about producing more for less - it’s essentially the basis for increasing profits.

Recently, however, the pressure has increased and the focus in business has grown ever closer on the role that an individual’s motivation can play in their performance and the impact that managers can have on that motivation.  Often, I suspect this focus is driven more by a desire to wring ever greater results from increasingly demotivated teams but sometimes people do the right things for the wrong reasons and that’s okay: at least they did the right thing.

There are various levels of motivation - it’s not an either/or thing and I might be motivated to do one thing but not motivated to do another.  If you’re a leader, the first thing to be aware of is that, as the Greeks say, “the fish rots from the head” - in other words, corruption spreads from the top.  If you’re looking at a demotivated team, the first thing to ask yourself is, honestly, how engaged and motivated you are.

You, as the team leader, will have a significant impact on the motivation of the individuals of your team; which is both a blessing and a curse.  If you’re demotivated, there’s very little you can do to convince you team that they should be motivated.  Assuming you’re on board, though, over the next couple of weeks we’ll take a look at four critical factors that are involved in determining whether someone will be motivated on the job.  Understanding what these factors are and what we can do to influence them can be a big step forward in building relationships with your team and in significantly improving their performance.

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