Identifying Motivators with Your Team

With Alex Moyle

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Identifying Motivators with Your Team


Do you really know what makes your team tick? To build and support a team of awesome performers you need to understand what motivates them. Let Alex show you how to ask the right questions to understand what each member is looking for and how to really energise them. 


    Do you really know what makes your team tick? To build and support a team of awesome performers you need to understand what motivates them. Let Alex show you how to ask the right questions to understand what each member is looking for and how to really energise them. 

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Identifying Motivators within Your Team

So this chapter is about how well are you connected with what motivates each individual in your team. And you might be thinking, surely they should roll up and do a good job because I pay them a base salary. Well, no, because what a base salary gets you is someone turning up and doing a job. If you want someone to do a brilliant job, you need to unlock their discretionary effort and that is the effort they have got to give if they feel super engaged in what they are doing.

And so, what that means is that you can’t really make anyone do anything. Well you sort of can if you are standing over them, but most of you will be in teams where people still have to work hard when you are not there. So the art of a motivating meeting is that when your back is turned, they are still going to be working as hard as when you are there. And that is truly a test of whether a team is working well. And in some ways it’s a little bit like if you are in sales. Customers can buy when you are there, but when they leave the shop do they cancel? Do they bring it back? Do they ever come back to you again? And so what we’ve got to focus on as a manager, is actually getting people to want to buy what we want them to do rather than actually selling them. People love to buy and so what we have to be connected with is each individual’s motivators, so we can sell and promote what we need people to do in a way that matches what that person's needs and is motivated by.

Let’s look at how individuals are motivated. Now, there are loads of different theories and philosophies around what motivates people. My personal favourite I use when I train people is the self determination theory. What that does is put motivators into two buckets, which keeps things simple. And so one bucket is extrinsic motivators. Extrinsic motivators are things that I get from an external body if I do something. For instance, if I hit a target, I maybe get a pay rise or I maybe get on a leaderboard. And then you’ve got intrinsic motivators which are things I do because I want to feel better inside. And so the extrinsic motivators we are going to go through are probably more short term and the intrinsic ones are often the deeper things that inspire longer lasting behaviour.

So extrinsic motivators. Firstly, status with managers or family. There are some people in your team who are motivated by your boss and your bosses boss thinking they are really good and you know as soon as that boss is coming into town, they are going to start working harder. Or it could be that they are motivated by showing their parents that they are standing on their own two feet, or they are able to have a job that is professional, credible and give them the status they want in life.

The other form of status is status with your peers and friends. A lot of people are motivated by their friends thinking, “well, do you have a decent job?”. I know when I entered the career workplace, all my friends became doctors, lawyers and accountants and I became a recruitment consultant. So, I was desperate to prove that my job was as credible as theirs. They were going to have letters after their name and I did a job that wasn’t always very popular in the world.

The other area of extrinsic motivators is competition. There are some individuals who love to be on a league table. They live to get recognition for doing things better than everybody else. Hence a lot of firms now are implementing peer to peer recognition systems that allow people to go,” Cheers you just did me a good job”. Because the pep of that motivation is what keeps a lot of people going. And the last area of intrinsic motivation is money or inquisitiveness. There are a lot of people who are motivated to work hard so they can buy a car, go on holiday, buy a handbag, shoes football season tickets, houses, pensions. And so when you understand someone is money motivated, it’s really important that you don’t just take money as an answer, but you are asking what they want to spend that money on.

My manager would always ask, “OK, you want a bonus, but what are you going to spend that money on?”. Some months it was, I want to buy a home cinema. Other months I wanted to buy a car and as I got older I wanted to buy a house. But all of those things, my manager knew about and they could then could then use them as tools when I was feeling down and not doing what I need to do, to jeer me on a bit and increase that motivation.

However, if you want long lasting change, intrinsic motivation is where you are going to get the biggest difference. And the three intrinsic motivators are firstly, autonomy. The desire to be autonomous in our work. The desire to be left alone and make decisions for ourselves (the decisions we think are right) in order to do the job as well as we can.

The next area is mastery. That inner desire to feel like we are wanting to improve. Many of you watching this video will have sometimes been in a job for maybe 18 months or 2 years and started to get a little bit bored. Well one of the reasons you are bored is that you feel like you are not learning. You are doing the same thing today as you were 2 or 3 years ago.

So if you know you’ve got someone who is motivated by continually developing, then you’ve always got to be showing them what are the things they can grow towards, projects or experiences that you can give them, that make them feel like they are developing. If you are giving them some new experiences on one hand, with the other you can probably give them a bit more of the stuff they do already and expect them to work a little bit harder.

And the last intrinsic motivator is purpose. Why are you here? What do you actually turn up to work for? What do you actually want to be in life? And that purpose could be serving my customers. It could be serving society. It could be that my purpose from a personal perspective is that I don’t want to be poor when I’m old. I’m tremendously motivated by that. But the key for me, and where I was always lucky, is that I was able to share that with my manager. If I had a bad week, my manager would always say, “you are not going to get that bonus”. If I had a bad month, my manager would always say, “What can we do to help you Alex? What can we do to help you grow? How can we incentivise you to do that?”. But if I was having a bad quarter, or a bad 6 months, money, status, competition really didn’t mean anything for me.

But my manager knew that I was incentivised by growing. She knew I was bored easily. So when I was demotivated in my job, we would seek to reinvent my job. How can I get myself a bit more autonomy? So maybe if I hit X and Y target, then maybe she gives more space day to day where she doesn’t come at the end of everyday and check all my calls or my activity. 

It could be that she gets me to do new things, so maybe do some talks to other departments, gives me the opportunity to travel to other parts of the business. But gives me opportunities to expand my mind a little bit more and feel like I’m progressing.

But the key for you as a listener and a watcher is, do you know what makes every person in your team tick? Because if you don’t know why they turn up to work everyday, if you don’t know what they want to spend their money on, if you don’t know what they want out of life, it’s really, really, really difficult to get them to want to do things, because you don’t know what they are going to get out of it. The clearer you are about what they will get out of it, the easier it is to (subtly) connect doing A will help give them B. That is the art of this. It’s easy to use day to day, but the art is making sure that they don’t see the process you are going through and all they feel is that you are trying to give them what they want.

This insight video is part of the Conducting Motivational 1-2-1 Review Meetings course.