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Ten steps to achieving high levels of motivation

13th December 2017 | Michael Armstrong

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Motivating people is the process of getting people to move in the direction you want them to go. People are motivated to do something if they think it will be worth their while. There are ten steps that managers can take to achieve higher levels of motivation:

  1. Exercise effective leadership. Leaders exist to get their followers to achieve what needs to be done. In other words they are there to motivate the members of their teams. Effective leaders are confident and know where they want to go and what they want to do. They have the ability to take charge, convey their vision to their teams and get their team members into action They create a climate that energises people to improve the impact they make, giving them clear direction, definition of role and stability.
  2. Ensure that people understand what they are expected to do. Set and agree demanding but achievable goals.
  3. Provide feedback on performance. To keep going in the right direction people need to know how well they are doing in getting there. If they are doing well this needs to be recognized. If things are not going so well they need to understand and agree what they should do to improve.  
  4. Create expectations that certain outcomes and behaviours will produce worthwhile rewards when people succeed.
  5. Design jobs that provide for people to be motivated by the work itself because they can feel that they are accomplishing something worth while, that they can use and develop their abilities to the full and that they have an appropriate degree of autonomy – within agreed limits they can decide for themselves what to do and how to do it.
  6. Provide financial incentives and rewards for achievement (pay-for-performance). But to be effective financial rewards need to satisfy the following criteria:
  • fair and consistent means are available for measuring or assessing performance;
  • people are able to influence their performance by changing their behavior;
  • the reward follows as closely as possible the accomplishment that generated it;

These are difficult requirements to meet. And there is the danger that a badly designed or operated performance pay scheme may demotivate rather than motivate people. Even if they do provide for immediate motivation it may not last.

  1. Provide appropriate non-financial rewards such as recognition and praise for work well done. Such  rewards may not have the immediately powerful effect of a financial incentive but they can provide for more deeply seated and lasting motivation.
  2. Communicate to individuals and publicize generally the link between performance and reward – thus enhancing expectations.
  3. Show individuals what they have to do to develop and give them the guidance and training that will develop the knowledge, skills and competencies they need to improve their ability to achieve or exceed the expected levels of performance.
  4. Select team leaders who potentially have the required leadership and motivating skills and help them to develop those skills.

Discover 67 essential topics to help you build your management skills and tackle your business challenges, in the 10th edition of Michael Armstrong's best-selling practical handbook for managers, How to be an Even Better Manager

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Business, Finance, Risk, Information Management

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