17 May Motivating Others
Trying to motivate yourself can be incredibly challenging. You have to figure out what you really want out of life, and align your circumstances so that you’re more often pulled towards the things that you find fulfilling. You have to evaluate yourself honestly – your skills, your desires, the areas where you could grow – and then you have to apply a variety of motivational techniques to move forward. In other words, motivation is an entirely internal process; knowledge of the self, mastery of the self. How, then, can we go about motivating others to live their best lives?
The key must lie in giving them the tools to motivate themselves. There’s a lot of ways we can go about this. Consider that motivation exists inside all of us; we’re motivated to get out of bed in the morning, to work, to play, to love, to relax, to eat – anytime we do anything, we do it because we’re motivated to. As the leader of an organization, you can use this innate human desire to do what you’re motivated to your advantage; rather than stirring up motivation that isn’t there, act to remove barriers for members of your organization. Let’s say you find out many members have pet projects they want to work on, but that they don’t have time to do in their workday; set aside an hour a day strictly for creative endeavors, and see what kind of wonderful things the members of your organization will create.
You can also motivate by encouraging; praise and support can move the needle just enough that the person you’re trying to motivate is more compelled to follow through on their goals. The first step to this is understanding what motivates them; have a conversation! What are their dreams, goals, and aspirations? Why? When you understand all of this, talk to them about how their skill set might be appropriate for accomplishing their goals, and how you believe in their strength of character.
You might also employ a wide variety of personality tests in order to glean what is driving the members of your organization; this can give you a good opening to talk about motivation. Forbes has created an evaluation of some of the various personality tests available; consider using them in order to give employees insight into their own behaviour, to get them thinking about motivation.
Stories are another great way to motivate people. When we hear a story, well-told, we inevitably put ourselves in the narrator’s shoes. This happens, in part, because our own self-conception is not as rigid as our conception of others, so stories transport us to a new place. This is one of the advantages of hiring a motivational speaker; they can bring their own stories of change and growth to the table, and by telling them well, influence members of your organization to search within themselves for what feels meaningful.