The ability to motivate the people around you is a tremendous skill to acquire. It can help you as a manager, a parent, a coach – even as a friend. But how do you do it? The fact is motivation is not a universal thing. We each have our unique hot buttons – those things which are important to us and drive us. So are there some common, general strategies we can use to motivate individuals? Absolutely! Here are three:
1. Define the benefit in his terms
Is he motivated by money? By recognition? By making a difference? When describing the work, focus on what’s important to him. So, for example, instead of saying, “OK, we have to wade waist deep in this sludge to clean this environment,” say “people are going to be amazed at what this looks like when we’re done” (recognition); “We might just get that raise when we get this mess cleaned up,” (money); “This will be one of the top ten environmental cleanups of the year” (making a difference), etc.
2. Be motivated yourself
Don’t for a second expect to motivate someone else if you aren’t visibly motivated. Attitude is more infectious than the flu.
3. Build momentum
Motivation is cumulative. Try and get him feeling positive about something small, and then gradually add to it. It can take time, and a bit of patience on your part, but the payoff is tremendous.