1. Motivate to innovate through engagement
In the book, The Elements of Great Managing, Rodd Wagner and James Harter explain that high performance can only happen by generating enthusiasm, uniting behind a common mission and goals. The evidence is clear; “money without meaning is not enough compensation.” In order to build a high-performance organization, you need high-performing employees, and the authors suggest that can only be achieved through employee engagement.
If you want your organization to innovate, it starts at the top. Wagner and Harter describes 12 elements that all engaged employees have: 1) Clear work expectations; 2) Resources and materials available; 3) Opportunity to perform at a high-level; 4) Recognition and praise; 5) Empathy as people; 6) Development and encouragement; 7) Feedback sought and acted upon; 8) Organization’s mission connects to individual work 9) Organization committed to high-quality work; 10) Strong personal relationships; 11) Progress discussed; 12) Opportunities to grow and learn.
[Read more on how to motivate to innovate]
2. The role of leaders is to support the self-motivation of others
As a leader, you must explore how to tap into the individual and collective interests and motivations of your group. The best way to explore and identify the hopes and dreams of others is to ask questions (See Career Compass No. 24: Asking Powerful Questions). Therefore, you may wish to begin by asking questions about how the unit can better meet the needs of children and families.
[Seven leadership myths that should be left behind]
3. Get to know your people
Unfortunately, managers are often reluctant to approach employees. We’re either worried about what they have to say, or we get too wrapped up in the hundreds of day-to-day issues that require our immediate attention. Stop procrastinating and have a chat with your staff. Establish an open door policy. Hold regular meetings to discuss workflow and office atmosphere (we do this once every three months). Finding out what makes staffers tick will go a long way when it comes to motivating them to excel.
[Four clever ways to maximize your team productivity]
4. Only the employee can motivate oneself
A leader cannot “motivate” anyone. Only the employee can motivate oneself. The leader can only support one’s motivation. As a supervisor, you want to provide resources, remove obstacles, support the efforts of staff, and recognize good work and achievement.
[Tips to engage employees for success]