Friday, 12 December 2008

Motivating Staff

One of the key challenges facing leaders at all levels is how best to motivate their staff. The reality is that each person is motivated (and de-motivated) by a different set of factors and the leader can exercise an influence over the vast majority of these. While this is a simple concept, identifying what the factors are for each individual and in turn, pressing the right buttons is not necessarily so easy.

Over the coming weeks I plan to pick the most common of these factors and explore how a leader can both identify which staff are affected by it and how to apply appropriate influence over each factor. This series will be called - Motivation Bite Size.

Before beginning that series, I’d briefly like to revisit what all staff need in order to deliver high levels of performance:

1. They need to know what is expected of them – i.e. clear goals, objectives, targets and standards.

2. They need to be capable of delivering what is expected of them.

3. They need support in helping to overcome any constraints or barriers that might prevent them achieving what is expected of them.

4. They need feedback on how they are delivering in relation to what is expected of them.

5. They need to be motivated.

Points 1-4 above all contribute to motivation. If people have clarity, capability, support and regular feedback, they are likely to be generally motivated. Similarly, a lack of any of these will likely contribute to a degree of de-motivation.

But there are also many other factors that contribute to motivation and these will be the focus of the series that follows. Be sure to tune in regularly and feel free to contribute to the discussion.

Simon Cooper is chief executive of the Experiential Learning Centre, author of the exciting new book, Brilliant Leader and architect of the Brilliant Leadership workshops.


  1. Nice post Simon - items 1-4 serve as an important foundation to any effort to motivate one's employees.

    I look forward to following your upcoming series!

    I have included this post in my weekly Rainmaker 'Fab Five' blog picks of the week which can be found here:

    Be well Simon!

  2. Thanks for recommendation Chris and I hope you enjoy the upcoming series.

  3. There a lot of managers who do not know how to track that information. Do they make notes in the persons file, do they make personal notes to remember? Do they review this before meeting with the person so they know how best to proceed?

    Dr. Wright
    The Wright Place TV Show

  4. Hello Dr Wright and welcome. Record keeping is important and in truth, such records should be freely available to the staff member. These records could be personal notes, formal documentation in the personnel file or even an email summary of what has been agreed.

    However, the most important aspect is the conversation - it should not turn into a form filling exercise.

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