• Read What really motivates your team?  Hint:  It’s not money.

    Leadership

    What really motivates your team?  Hint:  It’s not money.

    It’s not the things we often point to “I’d never thought to think about what motivates the people on my team,” a leadership participant of mine said recently on a course I was delivering.  Interestingly we often think we know, so we don’t bother to do any deep reflection on this question.  More money.  More kudos for the things we do.  More power, perhaps a promotion, advancing another rung on the org chart. These are the typical answers I hear when I ask that question.  The reality is different.  Let’s take money first, that’s the one I hear most often.  Despite what you might think, money isn’t a motivator for people.  However, it can be a de-motivator if pay is not fair or up to market rate.  It’s what organizational psychologists often refer to as a hygiene factor.  Once people are paid at market rate, an increase in pay does very little to affect an employee’s overall level of engagement or motivation. I see this quite often in my career coaching practice.  Folks will come to me for career coaching and say things like, “They offered me a bunch more money to stay, and I was excited for about a week.  And now I want to leave again.” The 4 Key Drivers of Motivation So, money isn’t the answer to the question.  But if it’s not money, then what is?  Motivation really boils down to 4 key things that in my experience, often get overlooked at a managerial level.  And this is worth paying attention to considering Gallup has estimated that 70% of the reason an employee quits their job has to do with their boss: Purpose:  How connected am I to my work?  Is it serving a higher purpose?  Is it creating tangible value?  How is my work serving my values? That feeling of connection, that sense of purpose in what you do is valuable.  And it’s the number one thing that people want when they come to me for career coaching, particularly when they’re looking to transition their career.  I hear all the time lack of purpose or connection to something.  As a manager, your job is to help people see that their work matters.  To help connect the dots and help your team see their contribution to the bigger picture. Recognition:  To what extent is my work and contribution valued by others?  How is my work recognized?  Is it in a way that is meaningful to me? The interesting thing about recognition is that it can look very different to different people.  It might be in public.  It might be in private.  The point is that as a manager, it helps to ask to understand how your people like to receive it.  Cultural influences can also affect this, I remember back to when I worked in the UK.  I noticed that most Brits shied away from public recognition, like in a team meeting or a team setting.  Whereas we Americans often like our horn to be tooted […]

    October 20, 2022

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    4.4 min read

  • Read The Power of a Great Question

    Leader as Coach

    The Power of a Great Question

    We all know we should ask good questions.  The problem is that a lot of the time we don’t do it.  We default to the things that are more comfortable. When I’m teaching coaching skills to leadership, I often have them do a very simple exercise. Advice versus open ended questions In pairs, they take turns listening to a colleague, but in the first round, they do it with the hat of a mentor.  They can give advice.  And boy do they.  These conversations typically descend into, “here’s what I’ve tried that’s worked.  You should do this.”  I hear loads of closed ended questions, lots of yeses and nos as they probe their colleague for what they tried and what they didn’t try. In the second round, they can’t give any advice, and only can ask open ended questions.  (An open-ended question is one that can’t be answered with a yes or a no just in case you were wondering.). They really struggle with this one.  But during the debrief, the folks with the issue typically report that the latter exercise, the one where only open-ended questions could be asked, was the one that really expanded their thinking or got them to see something from a different perspective. Why are open ended questions so powerful? I’ve often seen the light bulb go off after I debrief this exercise.  If I’m asking an open-ended empowering question, the person on the receiving end comes to their own conclusion, not the conclusion that I think could be best for them.  The benefit of this is that the person being questioned takes more ownership of whatever the solution is.  Have you ever had a great piece of advice which you willingly gave to someone and just couldn’t understand why they didn’t take the idea and run with it?  Well, it may have been great for you, but it probably wasn’t great for them.  The ability to create one’s own solution creates natural by-in in the problem-solving process.  It gives the person with the problem a sense they also have autonomy, which is something that greatly motivates folks and many of us desperately crave this in our work.  I can’t tell you how many coaching clients I’ve had who are looking to leave a job who say they don’t have enough creativity in their work.  They feel micromanaged.  They feel condescended to.  It’s not surprising considering it’s sometimes just easier in the short run to “tell” someone how they should do something.  The problem is that this way of communicating creates loads of longer-term issues. Powerful open-ended questions also create engagement.  If I’m telling someone what I think they should do, how engaged do you really think they will be in the conversation?  Asking a powerful open-ended question opens the dialogue, I am engaging this person on a deep level, getting them to think critically and creatively about the issues they face.  And if you don’t think engagement is important, think again.  According to Gallup, […]

    May 11, 2022

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    4.3 min read