Archives for posts with tag: motivation

Have you ever?

Leadership Artform: Asking the “right” questions to discover passion & increase motivation & engagement

A. Have you ever seen a team of individuals who brought an uncanny zest and zeal to their work? Have you witnessed a team of people who work together toward a clear and specific goal where every person is skilled, trained, AND loves their role? Have you ever been able to sit back and watch the focused intensity of people engaged in work where their passions are stirred and relied upon? OR
B. Have you ever watched a team of individuals come together (or work independently) with a lethargic, “Eeyore complex” as they approached a work project? Have you ever witnessed people moving through the motions of work with little interest or care for the process or results of their contributions?

Generally, people are drawn toward organizations, teams, and work groups where an innate synergy reveals itself in many intangible yet very real ways. I know I would want to engage in work with a group described above in the A. scenario.

We gravitate to work where we are valued. We are drawn toward leaders (employers, managers, team leaders) who demonstrate a desire to know us and our strengths and our passions – and then value these things in us and put them to work.

Most good-willed people desire to contribute to their work in meaningful and important ways. And most often, when we are working in our “passion zone” we bring our best selves to work and contribute in ways that add exceedingly great value to the end result and bottom line.

So as leaders, how do we motivate the people we lead?

Authenticity – it rings true. As leaders we need to know that inauthentic behavior, when we do not do what we say is important, can be spotted in us a mile away by those we lead. So before we can say, “Yeah, I want to get the most and best work out of those I lead…if helping them find their passion will allow me to leverage their passion which equates to better output and performance…show me how to do that!” we need to look at what drives US. As leaders, we need to self-reflect and understand our own passions. We need to work to incorporate our passions in our work.

When we possess authenticity in living our passions in our work, and when we find new levels of motivation in our work because our passions are involved, then we are at a place where we can authentically work with our team members to bring out the best of who they are. Only then are we able to enter into some informal coaching conversations where our role centers on asking the right questions of our team members.

4 Keys to Motivating Your Team Members
1. Know your passion. What drives you? What aspects of work do you love? What comes naturally and somewhat easily to you? What makes you respond internally with thoughts of, “I love doing this kind of work!”? More than money, what intrinsic passion is part of who you are that motivates you in your work? Think less about specific tasks and more about the common theme of overarching concepts. For example, it is less about, “Boy, do I sure love to write quarterly reports!” and more about, “I sure love hunting and searching for all of the detail needed to put together a complete and accurate quarterly report!”
2. Fuel your fire. How can you incorporate your unique passion in your work? What parts of your current responsibilities require you to use your passion? Can you begin to do more of those things? What might a conversation with your boss sound like where you communicate what that magical blend of work for you is where your passion is tapped into and you execute with excellence? (What manager doesn’t want to see his or her team members execute with excellence?!) How can you mentally focus on the fun involved in your work where your passion area is utilized?
3. Help others discover their passions. Often, when we approach conversations with someone about their passions, our skill has nothing to do with us having the right answers; our skill resides in asking the right questions. For example, some of the following may help someone begin to connect the dots of their experiences and begin to discover their passions. What 3-4 events or projects do you remember working in that you loved? What about your work on each of those projects sticks out to you? Can you describe one type of responsibility you would like to be tasked with in your current work? How can you describe aspects of that responsibility that resonate with you? Can you articulate now (or think on in the coming days) what 3-4 things you know you need in your work to bring out your best contributions? As you think about your past top three work-related projects, which would you say stirred your passion? We must remember that the individual we are communicating with holds the keys to discovering and articulating their passion. When they “own” this discovery, they generally begin to create ideas on how to involve their areas of passion in their work.
4. Motivate your people to work with excellence as their passions are leveraged. The great thing about this step is that as a leader, you do not have to “do” much in driving the motivation of your team members when you help them tap into their areas of passion. Once you and your team members have gained clarity on their passions, then together you begin to craft ways to incorporate their passion into their work. What ideas can you come up with as to how your passion may be more tapped into in your work? A simple question like this invites freedom and responsibility on the team member to think outside the box regarding how personal passions can be intertwined in work. Sometimes this may involve a shift of responsibilities. However, more often it involves you as a leader acknowledging the passions of each valuable and skilled team member, and then providing a bit of flexibility and encouragement for each person to utilize their passion in ways that may have not been recognized before.

I LOVE people development. I know that when I am able to help others discover their passions and then design plans to better incorporate those areas of passion into their lives and work – that is when I am at my best. This personal passion of mine to develop people and help them contribute to work and life in ways that resonate with the core of who they are connects to my other passion of helping teams improve their performance.

If you are a leader who wants to discover how to first, find and leverage your own passions to improve work performance, and then learn how to help your team members to do this, I would love to help! Shifting a work culture to a coaching culture may be a large-scale change. Because managing this type of culture change is what I do, I would love the opportunity to assist you with this.

Dr. Heidi Scott, the Leader’s Coach http://www.LearningPursuits.com

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Dear Dr. Scott,

Developing Digital or Face-to-Face Team Goals Require These 5 C’s

As a business leader, I thought I was decent at getting my work teams motivated to work together toward the completion of goals. But I need help. Sometimes I feel like I’m herding cats trying to keep people on the same page with where we are headed.

I oversee 5 virtual work groups and have competent department leaders heading up each group. When I click “Off” from a web-conference to end a meeting with these leaders I often think, “Good, it seems like my leaders know where we are headed and they should be able to get each of their work groups to reach these goals.”

But then it doesn’t seem to take too long for my wishful hopes to unravel as reports of data and also group conflict come my way. What am I doing wrong in trying to set up effective goals for my virtual teams? Can you give me some insights to help my work teams reach their goals?

Signed, Vastly Vexed in Vermont

This is a common question for leaders of virtual work teams, as well as those who work primarily face-to-face (F2F). Oftentimes, to a leader of a group, a team goal may seem almost obnoxiously obvious…like, “Of course this is the goal! Isn’t it clear that the group must reach this goal with excellence and timeliness?”

But “assumptions get us nearly every time” (one of my favorite sayings!). And if a leader assumes that group members recognize the same priorities and goals as they do – well, that may be an initial problem in the scenario of a group not all pulling together to complete the same goal!

So here are insights I’ve offered to a leader client caught up in the struggle of establishing effective team goals for virtual work groups.

NOTE: To be sure, these “5 Components (C’s) of Effective Team Goals” work in the F2F setting as well! The main difference is that the leader of virtual groups must be much more in-tune and aware of being highly intentional in addressing each of these components to improve the performance and success rate of virtual teams they lead.

How will it look when the goal is reached?

5 Components (C’s) of Effective Team Goals

1. Clear Goals This is the “what” of the goal. What is the overarching objective? Where is the desired destination? Does every member of the group possess the same clarity about this group goal? As the leader, have you confirmed this?

Compelling goals stir a desire to contribute

2. Compelling Goals As the leader, have you crafted a vision of this goal’s desired end state that is motivating to the group members? Have you addressed the, “What’s in it for me?” question that each member mentally asks? Have you shared this group goal in such a way that you create in every member a desire to contribute? Are they authentically eager to reach this goal?

3. Cooperative Goals

Cooperation increases when team members feel needed & valued

Because we know that a high-functioning team works as a system with well-oiled parts that must be working in synch, as the leader have you identified a role for each member in the group? Have you indicated how each role is needed and valued? Have you confirmed that group members know their role (and the value of it)?

Challenging goals seem outlandish - but "do-able"

4. Challenging Goals Have you heard of the term “Stretch Goals” when talking about setting milestones with meaning that seem almost out of reach…but are still quite possibly attainable? Well, that is what I mean by setting challenging goals for your work teams. Team members need to believe that it IS possible to attain the goal; and they must realize that it will take cooperation among team members to make it happen. If they believe the goal is completely out of reach, good luck engaging them! If they believe the goal is so easy that any two members could complete it on their own, quite possibly members will sit back and wait for the little effort they believe is required to come from other members! As a leader have you planned this as a strategic, important, and challenging goal?

Commitment means, "I'm on board! Let's go!"

5. Commitment to Goals Have you invited feedback from group members during the discussion you’ve led about this fresh, group goal? Have you asked (specifically) for your group members to express that they’re “on board” with this group goal? They don’t have to love it; but they must be moved to a point beyond being willing to “live with it.” When you can get them to verbalize out loud to themselves AND the group that at the least, “I’m on board,” the group’s commitment level goes up exponentially. And almost more importantly, have you as the leader expressed that you are not just “on board” but that you are fully committed to this goal?

So if you identify with the issues vexing the leader in the intro e-mail to this post about:

  • how to set up effective goals for your virtual teams, and
  • how to help your work teams reach their goals,

employing these 5 Components (C’s) of Effective Team Goals will be of help. If these issues resonated with you, there are 3 things of which to remain aware.

a)    As a leader who desires to develop effective team goals that your teams get behind and work together to make happen, YOU must take the time to think through and plan for how to communicate the 5 C’s of Effective Team Goals with your team.

b)   As a leader who desires to share team goals with your team of leaders who must then go cascade this information about the team goal with those they lead, you must plan for how to communicate the 5 C’s of Effective Team Goals with your group of leaders.

c)    As a leader who oversees numerous work groups (each with a leader), if you want those groups to reach team goals, you must do a) and b) above, AND teach the leaders of those groups how to do the same with the members in the groups they lead.

Our dear Vastly Vexed in Vermont leader diligently prepared to share team goals in these ways. The results? Team members collaborated cooperatively toward the clear, compelling, and challenging goals they were committed to reach. Motivation and momentum mixed to make results happen.

How can you articulate the 5 C’s of a current (or soon to be) team goal (whether it is a virtual or F2F team!) to increase the likelihood of your team(s) reaching it?

By Dr. Heidi Scott – Leadership and Organizational Development Specialist – consulting with and coaching leaders across industries