Be a Great Manager: Motivate Me
Topping the list of why people change jobs is that they have issues with their manager. Digging a bit deeper, we find that those “issues” boil down to five core items: lack of accountability, communication, feedback, motivation, and support.
These correlate quite nicely to the five traits of great managers Gallup identifies in State of the American Manager. In terms of the managers’ role in motivating employees, Gallup suggests “[Great managers] motivate every single employee to take action and engage employees with a compelling mission and vision.”
What does that really mean? It is up to the manager to understand what external incentives drive each employee on their team — and to understand the level of internal motivation each employee is capable of exhibiting.
Managers, like parents, must be able to draw that fine line between internal and external motivation. It is critical that managers understand that the thing that motivates them to stay engaged with a company may not be the same thing that incentivizes anyone else on their team. Managers who have grasped that concept are able to engage individually with their team members. They can provide incentives to the employees that enhance job satisfaction and also build a stronger team.
For example, if you have an employee who is incentivized through personal advancement, the manager’s responsibility is to create a clear career path. In small companies, where upward advancement is limited, managers can incentivize these employees by having them lead projects/tasks and by allowing them to build skills that expand their knowledge base.
Employees driven by the need for advancement who don’t see a clear upward path will eye advancement with other companies. When that happens, the manager will be left with a vacant position and the need to start from scratch, working through the recruiting and hiring process while dealing with reduced productivity while the position is vacant. Then, when a replacement comes on board, there’s a learning curve. And throughout the process, the team’s culture, their balance and flow, have been disrupted.
Talented managers find the right incentive for each member of their team.