What Really Motivates Employees (Hint: It’s not carrots or sticks)
Once you get the “right people on the bus,” (as taught to us by Jim Collins and his best-seller, Good to Great), a leader’s job is to keep them there by figuring out the elixir of intrinsic motivation.
While this is a nice and general article on how to keep people motivated, I have another pearl of wisdom that this article misses. From my experience, many raw, as well as well-heeled managers, are not aware of this particular way to motivate your employees. If you want a motivated employee, make a concerted effort to set concrete, short and long term, validated goals for them. Discuss these goals frequently with them to be sure you are still on the same page. Just because you set a bunch of generic goals for them on their annual review form or talked to them at a meeting or a one on one about accomplishing a certain deliverable, please do not consider that to be a message that was received and heeded by your employee. Just because you said it or wrote it down, does not mean your employee recognized it, or more importantly, understood it. Frequent, frank, honest, empathetic conversations with your employee are the best motivator. Conversely, if you take the time to do this with your employee, they will practice the same with their direct reports.