Motivating Others: It’s Not What You Think

creating synergy deancrisp diamondleadershipmodel intrinsicmotivation motivatingothers May 03, 2022

As leaders, we all want the secret ingredient or the magic pill to motivating our people to act when they really aren’t feeling it. Too often, we think that it is through extrinsic motivators like more benefits, time off, or higher pay, but surprise! It isn’t. Now don’t get me wrong, we can motivate anyone with external or extrinsic motivators, but the motivator often won’t last long. As cops, we understand this. You simply don’t do law enforcement, most especially within the current environment, for the pay and benefits. Rather, to be a cop is somewhat like being a pastor, you must have a calling to do the job. The trick as a leader is finding what internally drives each of your employees and how to help them find a way to use that to advance the goals of your department or organization.

In this week’s Monday Motivation, (sign up for our email list to receive that in your inbox each week), I focused how to motivate yourself (Staying Motivated When You Aren’t Feeling It). We started the week with you first, because as a leader, you have to be able to motivate yourself before you can really discover what motivate others. The three suggestions I offered were 1) Just do it by starting to do something – take action; procrastination simply ensures failure through inaction; 2) Cultivate a positive mindset – this is so key for making sure your actions are coming from a good place; and 3) Create manageable ‘to do’ lists to prioritize and define the next steps. We recommend tackling 3 things daily and start with the most difficult item first. The summation is that you must reach inside and find that intrinsic motivation to take action, manage your mindset, and accomplish priorities. It’s not so different when it comes to motivating others but requires a willingness to apply what I call my diamond leadership model.

When it comes leading and motivating others to do what they aren’t inclined to do, there are some things that leaders can do to help create intrinsic motivation in their people.

  • Develop a relationship by spending time with each of your people one-on-one so that you really understand who they are both at work and outside of work. Ask them what them what they want and, at least at work, help to show them how they can achieve their goals. Often, people aren’t sure what they want and, more often, they aren’t clear on how to get there. Your role as a leader and mentor is to see if you can connect what the employee wants with the organizational purpose. That’s where real synergy occurs for you and the employee.
  • Find ways to create partnership by not making assumptions about what an employee wants. We as leaders often project our own desires such as a position title, department accomplishments and recognitions, personal recognitions, or more money onto employees. The best way to avoid this, is to simply ask them. If you’ve developed a quality working relationship with them, you will be comfortable with asking them where they want to be in 3 years, 5 years. You can ask their opinions on current projects or what ideas they have for projects that would help advance their personal growth as well as achieve organizational goals.
  • Create synergy by being courageous when you lead others you have to have the courage to allow them to try something new for which you feel they are ready and then let them succeed or fail. Your role as a leader is to help them succeed and to help them learn should they fail at the project, task, or endeavor assigned. The real magic comes when you have developed a relationship and partnership that allows for a free exchange of ideas between all and creates synergy…it’s what I call a 1+1 = 3 scenario..

The real secret to being a great leader, is to find ways that allow your people to achieve or acquire what they desire, while also benefiting the organization as a whole. When you align those personal goals with your desired goals as a leader, you will create a true win-win scenario. In class, I will describe this as Team of 1, Team of 2, Team of We. When you help grow others by discovering what they want and helping them achieve that, you create a Team of “we.”

Have a great week!


Watch my short video on Motivation here!

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