Motivating employees is no longer about carrots and sticks

The secret of team engagement and retention lies in really getting to know your team.

Do you know what really motivates your team to come to work every day?

Research shows that employees are most engaged when:

  1. They feel their employer has a genuine interest in them
  2. They feel heard and acknowledged
  3. They are working alongside motivated and engaged colleagues

The old ‘carrot and stick’ leadership approach no longer works. People are still motivated by reward (i.e. the carrot) and yes, people still get a kick up the backside if they know they will suffer the consequences if they don’t fulfil their role responsibilities (i.e. the stick), but the effects don’t last long and it isn't sustainable. The carrots need to get juicier and the sticks need to get bigger to work long term.

Leading with values is the way forward

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It’s very easy to assume that you know what motivates your team, but more often than not your assumptions can be incorrect meaning you could be attempting to motivate your team members in a way that isn’t right for them. This leads to a whole host of challenges, resentments, and disengaged team members.

It would be relatively easy (and heart-breaking) to lose your highest performer or most valued team member this way, and this is where leading with values works.

People are mostly intrinsically motivated these days, meaning they are motivated by things like enjoyment, purpose and growth. What someone enjoys and what they find purposeful is driven by their values. 

Feeling undervalued or not having their needs met has been a motivator to move on from a practice where someone has otherwise felt pretty satisfied. Feeling undervalued stems from inconsistent levels of communication with their employer, and a lack of time invested in them to understand their goals, dreams, desires.

Uncovering your teams values means you begin to understand their model of the world and what's important to them. It means you can utilise the information to motivate, develop and retain them, in a way that is for them.

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