Didn’t you hate to get scolded, lectured or guilted when you were a kid? It felt terrible and often continued a destructive cycle of anger, resentment and crushed self-worth.
But how many of us find ourselves resorting to the same tactics after we are adults? Like, most of us! Sure, you get people to scurry around when you are an angry maniac or a guilt-inducing martyr. But your relationship takes a huge hit.
So, are there positive ways to motivate others? The answer is “Yes!” Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Affirm their capabilities. Take some time to acknowledge how that person makes a valuable contribution to your organization. Let them know why you see them as being capable and worthwhile. It sounds like this, “You know, you do a ton of great things for this business. Your sales numbers were outstanding last quarter and I think a lot of people look up to you.” Then . . .
- They are already doing it. Point out situations where the person is already doing what you want to see done. This is how is looks in the convo: “I notice you are always on time to the office every morning. So I know you are basically an “on-time” kind of guy. Can you do the same thing after lunch?” Also . . .
- They are already being it. This is similar to #2, but instead of pointing out their deeds, point out their character traits. Example, “I’ve seen you be super competitive during lunch volleyball, so I know you have that keen edge. When you bring that to the sales goals, you are a killer closer.”
- Don’t talk about barriers. Talk about possibilities. When you focus on barriers, we can get stuck in justifying our past behavior. So don’t ask, “How come you’ve been absent the last 3 days?” That gets the person stuck on justifying why they behaved the way they did. Instead, ask, “What do we have to do to have you show up every day? What would you need to do to make that happen?” Then . . .
- Tweak, don’t torture. Dale Carnegie had this one right — make the change you want seem small, easy, and doable. Qualify your request with something like, “Hey, there’s just one small thing that would really help here. . . “ Or, “This will be easy for you cause it’s a no-brainer. . . “ Think in terms of small “tweaks” rather than major “overhauls.” People will be willing to take on small changes. And . . .
- Offer support. Put yourself on the line a bit and ask them, “What can I do to support this new path? I’m willing to show you I’m in your corner.” Then follow through on your commitment. It will mean a great deal when they know you are more than just “talk.”
- Validate ANY progress. Don’t wait for big leaps of progress before your acknowledge the effort. Give good feedback for even small improvements. If you wait too long while they struggle to improve, people will often give up. Finally. . .
- Figure out their “Love Language.” Validate the person in the way that means the most to them. While some people value verbal compliments, others value material tokens of appreciation while others value acts of service or recognition or more opportunities. If you are not sure, try to think of what that person does to give props to others — then try that. If you are an employer, it might be important to have your people take the Love Languages quiz and talk about what means validation to them. I mean, why give them a pay raise, when it would mean more to give them additional responsibility?
These techniques work at home, school, or on the job. Everyone concerned feels more motivated by hope rather than guilt, and by support rather than anger.
Organizations that work with these methods will benefit in both tangible and intangible ways. You will find your relationship strengthened rather than weakened and personal loyalty will increase. And that’s priceless.