If only it was as simple as one word or one sentence answer. The difficulty in motivating a team is that a team is a group of individuals all with differing wants and needs and unfortunately there is no “one fits all”. That means that in management training there are 2 different ways to answer the question.
One way is to talk about the various theories of motivation, the other is to take a more practical approach and draw on your knowledge and the knowledge of others as to what we believe motivates.
Some people are motivated by competition, others by praise and others could be financial reward etc. We all know financial reward is important but it may not be the main motivator for many people. Often in management training the motivation is broken down into two distinct areas.
The areas being the difference between long term motivation and short term motivation. Unfortunately most motivation we use is short term, example being that of a pay rise, competition etc.
There is a saying in life ‘Eaten bread is soon forgotten’ -in other words many things we use to motivate, once given, are then no longer motivators that cannot be continuously used.
When we look at some of the theories of motivation, the most common one everyone thinks about is Maslows Hierarchy of Needs.
This theory states once an individuals physiological needs have been satisfied the individual automatically moves up to other levels of need such as “esteem” and “fulfillment”, it is at some of the higher levels of need that individuals personal potential are realised.
In Maslows Hierarchy the first 4 needs are seen as basic and are seen as vital to the health of an individual. Maslow maintains that the lower level needs must be truly satisfied before moving to the upper level needs.
He also maintains that needs can change due to circumstances, this has never been more evident than in recent times when people who may have been in the upper level needs, who have lost money due to the economic turnaround now find themselves back in the lower level needs.
In management training it is taught that motivation is all about establishing where someone is in Maslows Hierarchy and fulfilling that need to help them move on to the next need.
Maslows needs are determined as follows:
4. Self Esteem
There have been numerous articles written on Maslows Theory from numerous sources, this is not intended to teach you Maslows Theory but to possibly let you think about motivation so as you can try and answer for yourself in the next management training you attend ‘How do I motivate my team?’
For further information on team motivation see www.premiertraining.ie