10 tips to motivate employees
As the head of a company, are you currently searching for new and innovating ways to motivate your employees? After all, how do you expect to run a successful business without the proper team?
Originally reported by our sister brand Business Review Canada, it’s extremely important for the head of the company to create a culture where workers can focus on both engagement and energy.
As a leader, the following tips can help you change the way you approach the idea of an employee’s engagement at the office. Put energy first with these 10 guidelines:
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1. Manage energy, not engagement
When we are low on energy, we lose our ability to focus, regulate emotions, make decisions and take action. By managing energy instead of engagement, leaders protect employees’ executive function. This can unlock energy that fuels enthusiasm and innovation—generating sustainable engagement.
2. Deliver experiences, not promises
When elaborate recognition/reward programs and intricate performance management systems don’t deliver on leaders’ promises, this creates workplace cynicism workplace—leading employees to see employee engagement as a con game. But by delivering on experiences, leaders can create a happy, productive, frequently energized employee base.
3. Target emotion, not logic
We live and work in a “Feelings Economy,” where feelings—not intellect—drive employee behavior. In fact, research shows that emotional engagement trumps rational engagement by a multiple of four! Understanding what matters most to employees—and then acting upon that information—is an effective way to show compassion and support.
4. Trust conversations, not surveys
Annual engagement survey results only provide a small glimpse of a very large picture. To really understand and energize employees, leaders must shift to frequent, face-to-face, meaningful conversations with employees. Why? Quality conversation releases all kinds of high-performance hormones in our brains.
5. Seek tension, not harmony
The brain’s natural response to tension is to interpret it as a threat. However, we are actually energized by tension. Many opportunities for innovative breakthroughs exist between the current and desired way of doing things. The trick is for leaders to learn to stand amid that tension—not to avoid it—and effectively manage competing priorities.
6. Practice partnering, not parenting
The brain perceives “shared responsibility” as a risk. Therefore, leaders may resort to parental-like behaviors—which, consequently, introduces negativity into the workplace. By shifting to a “partnering” managerial style, leaders and employees can work together to create powerful solutions that both parties are willing to adopt and implement.
7. Pull out the backstory, not the action plan
Too often, organizations take engagement survey results at face value and create “one-size-only” action plans. This practically guarantees employee resistance to any engagement initiative. Leaders who use converse frequently with their employees can draw out the backstory behind engagement scores—and co-create conditions that generate meaningful, sustainable energy.
8. Think sticks, not carrots
Leaders often gravitate to offering “carrots” like recognition programs, cheerleading and inspiration. However, they should be “thinking sticks”—that is, identifying and addressing psychological forms of workplace interference like bullying and conflict. In doing so, managers can produce environments where employees can be their best selves—able to access their knowledge, experience, skills and strengths at a moment’s notice.
9. Meet needs, not scores
When employees’ individual needs go unmet, they may act out in unskillful ways such as forming cliques and gossiping—permeating the organization with interference, which affects people’s ability to leverage their executive function. By focusing on individual needs instead annual survey scores, leaders can inspire employees and sustain workplace energy.
10. Challenge beliefs, not emotions
According to brain science, it is not our capability but our belief in our capability that affects how effective we are. Leaders who engage in meaningful conversation with employees to identify and address negative beliefs (such as self-doubt) can create a much greater sense of agency in their people.
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Brady Wilson is co-founder of Juice Inc., a corporate training company that services organizations from Toronto to Los Angeles. Also a speaker, trainer and author, Brady recently released his latest book, Beyond Engagement: A Brain-Based Approach That Blends the Engagement Managers Want with the Energy Employees Need. Follow Brady on Twitter (@BradyJuiceInc) or visit his website, www.bradywilson.com.
Click here to read the October 2015 edition of Business Review USA!
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.