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Highly-motivated employees occur by design: here is strategy #6

What does it take to create highly-motivated employees?  That’s exactly what we’ve been talking about in my current video blog series on specific strategies to inspire, encourage and excite your people – to greater positivity and productivity, to higher performance and greater commitment.  Last week, I discussed the motivational value of celebrating.  Today’s tip is #6 in our series: get to know your people.

Get to know your people

Make it a point to learn more about your employees than just their presence at work.  Find out something new about each of your employees’ experiences, background, hobbies or personal interests.  There are two benefits to this motivator.

The benefits are two-fold

First, the more you learn about your employees, the more you will learn about what it takes to create each specific highly-motivated employee.  Remember that this one fundamental concept in employee motivation which is …. different people are motivated by different things.  So the more you get to know your people, the better you will understand their individual motivators.

I am reminded of a story that is told by Mary Kay Ash, the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics.  Before she founded Mary Kay cosmetics in the early sixties, she worked as a salesperson for Stanley Home Products, and she once won a prize in an internal sales contest – a flounder light, something you are supposed to pin to your hip boots when you fish at night!  “I was devastated.  What a terrible thing to give to any woman,” she said.  “You can tell it was a man who was awarding those prizes.”  Clearly, her manager didn’t take the time to understand what her background, hobbies or personal interests were!

Second, when you take the time to get to know your employees, you develop an individual relationship with each of them.  And these relationships are what will actually make your employees a team!  When things go awry in your department (and they will), it is this sense of team that will cause your employees to roll up their sleeves and get to finding a resolution to the problem.  When you take the time to get to know your people at an individual level, you are well on your way to creating highly-motivated employees.

Are there any risks to this strategy?  I ask because some managers have told me that these types of “getting to know you” conversations can drift into uncomfortable topics that are personal in nature.  My response is that there is plenty of room to develop a relationship somewhere between superficial and becoming best friends!  Would love to hear your thoughts though.

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