Suggestions for Bringing Out the Best in People

Your people are the true key to your success. And, if you want your company to be the very best it can be, there are five key elements to human resource management that you need to follow to achieve your goals: Hire the best, train the best, communicate the best, compensate the best and motivate the best.

To inspire people to work - individually or in groups - in ways that produce the best results, you need to tap into their personal motivational forces. The art of motivating people stands with learning how to influence individual behavior. Once you understand this, you’re more likely to achieve the results you want.

Different people are motivated by different forces. Thus, your challenge is to influence members of your staff to align their own motivation with the needs of the organization.

To help employees reach their full potential, organizations are rapidly moving away from "command and control" and toward "advise and consent" as a way of motivating. This change of attitude started when managers began to recognize that rewarding good work is more effective than threatening punitive measures for bad work.

For the employee, the chief advantage of being motivated is job satisfaction. For the employer, it means greater productivity and a higher quality of the work.

Finding Motivation

The Maslow Hierarchy theorist Abraham Maslow believed that satisfying just physiological and safety needs was not enough to motivate a person fully. Once these needs have been met, there are others waiting to take their place. The Maslow Hierarchy can be applied to every aspect of life, and the more ambitious and satisfied the personality, the greater the potential contribution to the business.

These "needs" build on each other; as a person draws near to satisfying one, the priority of the next one becomes higher. And, once a need has been satisfied, it is no longer a stimulus.

The Maslow Hierarchy is particularly relevant in the workplace because individuals need not just money and rewards, but also respect and interaction.

There are several motivators that will help increase workplace motivation. Being aware of what they are and why they work will help you become a better motivator. Hence, they are:

Achievement: Reaching or exceeding task objectives is particularly important because the "onward-and-upward" urge to achieve is a basic human drive. It is one of the most powerful motivators and a great source of satisfaction.

Recognition: The acknowledgement of achievements by supervisors is motivational because it helps enhance self-esteem. For many people, recognition may be viewed as a reward in itself.

Job Interest: A job that provides pleasure will be a greater motivational force than a job that does not sustain interest. As far as possible, responsibilities should be matched to individuals’ interests.

Responsibility: The opportunity to exercise authority and power may demand leadership skills, risk-taking, decision-making and self-direction, all of which raise self-esteem and are strong motivators.

Advancement: Promotion, progress and rising rewards for achievement are important here. Possibly the main motivator, however, is the feeling that advancement is possible. But, always be totally honest about the promotion prospects and the likely time frame involved.

Understanding behavior and being able to "read" your employees are keys to good motivational management. Learning to listen to what your employees say and being able to "read" their gestures, expressions and body language are very important. Motivated employees will: Freely volunteer effort and ideas, react well to requests and new assignments, want to achieve - not to "rule," seem to be happy at work and respond openly and frankly to questions.

The morale of your team is important! Learning how to measure workplace morale on a regular basis is part of your management responsibility.

There are several ways to measure morale at your business. You could develop an attitude questionnaire and ask employees to respond. You could conduct a morale opinion poll. But, by far, the best way to determine what’s really going on is to sit with each employee. Conduct an open, honest discussion. Let folks know that you’re concerned and truly do want to improve the level of morale. If done properly, you will learn what really is going on. If you do this, employees will be looking for changes - improvements - so be sure this happens. If nothing happens as a result of these meetings, morale will only get worse.

Managing to Motivate

An essential foundation for motivation is a positive workplace environment created by you, the boss. Employees have the right to expect fair treatment and understanding. You need to establish a system and management style that is constructive, in which people can hope to perform at their best. You need to ascertain where your employees' strengths and interests lie, and then delegate responsibilities that will both take advantage of these and meet the needs of the company.

Demonstrate trust in your staff, and prove yourself worthy of trust. This trust includes: Never making promises that you are not able or are not intending to keep, never asking others to do anything that you would not do yourself and letting your people know that they can count on your respect and your loyalty, unless and until they prove to be undeserving.

See to it that working conditions, pay and status issues, job security and working atmosphere are managed promptly and fairly.

Don't wait to get started being a better motivator. Start now and never stop.