Two questions I often get in workshops, from coaching clients, and in consulting engagements are:
- How do I work with an unmotivated person? and
- How do I motivate someone to work harder?
Here are the quick answers:
- There is no such thing as an unmotivated person. Everyone is motivated to do something. Therefore, everyone is motivated.
- You cannot motivate someone else to work harder. You can find what is important to them — what motivates them — and then find ways to make sure they get more of that as a reward for high-level performance.
According to this model for understanding what motivates behavior, behaviors come from our choices about what he hope to experience (in some cases what we hope to avoid experiencing). So, the key to “motivating” another person is knowing what they view as a reward for working hard or doing a certain behavior. (No, I did not change my mind about your ability to motivate someone else. I'm just using the word in a figurative sense.)
As a leader working to influence the behavior of other people, here are three clues you can look for to know what motivates them to high-level performance
- Their personal lives
Their hobbies and other outside work activities are clues to what they enjoy and what might motivate them to behave in certain ways or to achieve great results.
- Their DISC behavior style
When you understand their behavioral style, you have at least partial insight into their needs and desires. When you understand another person's needs and desires, you have good clues about what they might view as a positive motivator.
- The tasks they like to do at work
Sometimes, you can let people do what they would prefer to do after they accomplish what they don't want to do so that the preferred task becomes a type of reward. This approach is sometimes called Grandma's Law: “You can have desert after you eat your broccoli.”
Over the next few posts I'll elaborate on each of these three clues to offer some practical application tips.
This article is from the Motivation series. Use the links below to read more from this series.
- The 5 Be's of Motivation
- The Positive Runs Out
- A Simple Model for Understanding What Drives Behavior
- You Cannot Punish People into Good Behavior
- Three Clues You Can Use to Find What Motivates Another Person
- Employee Motivation Tips: Their Personal Life
- Employee Motivation Tips: Their DISC Behavior Style