3 Effective Tips For Motivating Your Staff

Updated: May 21

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What's the kind of leadership needed to achieve success? 

When it comes to realizing motivational leadership around the world, there is a hierarchy of verbal persuasion.  This hierarchy extends to people everywhere, no matter what their culture, what job they hold, or what ambitions they have.  

The lowest levels of the hierarchy are speeches and presentations. They communicate information.  The highest level, the most effective level is The Motivational Talk. The Motivational Talk not only communicates information.  It does something much more.  It establishes deep, human, emotional connections with people. 

The Motivational Talk is motivational, action-focused, results-oriented anywhere it's used. 

That's because its key process is tied to universal human motivators. 

We emphasize process -- which is a sequence of specific steps to achieve a particular outcome -- because it's not good enough to motivate people now and then, we must do it consistently. The process promotes consistency and advances the quality, quantity, and dependability of results. 

The Motivational Talk process we are going to show you have been working for many hundreds of leaders for nearly 20 years. 

Note that the triggers are in the form of questions.

1) DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE AUDIENCE NEEDS?

(2) CAN YOU BRING DEEP BELIEF TO WHAT YOU'RE SAYING?

(3) CAN YOU HAVE THE AUDIENCE TAKE RIGHT ACTION?

When facing a leadership challenge, if you say "no" to any of these questions, you can't give a Motivational Leadership Talk.   

(1) DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE AUDIENCE NEEDS?

Winston Churchill said, "We must face the facts or they'll stab us in the back."

When you are trying to motivate people, the real facts are THEIR facts, their reality. 

Their reality is composed of their needs. In many cases, their needs have nothing to do with your needs.  Most leaders don't get this. They think that their own needs, their organization's needs, are our reality. That's okay if you're into ordering. As an order leader, you only need work with your reality. You simply have to tell people to get the job done. You don't have to know where they're coming from. But if you want to motivate them, you must work within their reality, not yours.

We call it "playing the game in the people's home park". There is no other way to motivate them consistently. If you insist on playing the game in your park, you'll be disappointed in the motivational outcome. 

(2) CAN YOU BRING DEEP BELIEF TO WHAT YOU'RE SAYING? 

Nobody wants to follow a leader who doesn't believe the job can get done. If you can't feel it, they won't do it.

But though you must "want to" when it comes to the challenge you face, your motivation isn't the point. It's simply a given. If you're not motivated, you shouldn't be leading. 

Here's the point: Can you TRANSFER your motivation to the people so they become as motivated as you are? 

We call it THE MOTIVATIONAL TRANSFER, and it is one of the least understood and most important leadership determinants of all. 

There are three ways you can make the transfer happen.

-- CONVEY INFORMATION. Often, this is enough to get people motivated. For instance, many people have quit smoking because of information on the harmful effects of the habit

-- MAKE SENSE. To be motivated, people must understand the rationality behind your challenge. 

-- TRANSMIT EXPERIENCE. This entails having the leader's experience become the people's experience. This can be the most effective method of all, for when the speaker's experience becomes the audience's experience, a deep sharing of emotions and ideas, a communing, can take place. 

There are plenty of presentation and speech courses devoted to the first two methods, so we won't talk about those. 

Here are a few thoughts on the third method.

Generally speaking, humans learn in two ways: by acquiring intellectual understanding and through experience.

In our schooling, the former predominates, but it is the latter which is most powerful in terms of inducing a deep sharing of emotions and ideas; for our experiences, which can be life's teachings, often lead us to profound awareness and purposeful action. 

Look back at your schooling. Was it your book learning or your experiences, your interactions with teachers and students, that you remember most? In most cases, your experiences made the most telling impressions upon you. 

To transfer your motivation to others, use what we call the "defining moment" technique.

In brief, the technique is this: Put into sharp focus a particular experience of yours then communicate that focused experience to the people by describing the physical facts that gave you the emotion.

Now, here's the secret to the defining moment. That experience of yours must provide a lesson and that lesson is a solution to the needs of the people. Otherwise, they'll think you're just talking about yourself.

For the defining moment to work (i.e., for it to transfer your motivation to them), the experience must be about them. The experience happened to you, of course. But that experience becomes their experience when the lesson it communicates is a solution to their needs.

(3) CAN YOU HAVE THE AUDIENCE TAKE RIGHT ACTION?

Results don't happen unless people take action. After all, it's not what you say that's important in your leadership communications, it's what the people do after you have had your say.

Yet the vast majority of leaders don't know what action truly is.

They get people taking the wrong action at the wrong time in the wrong way for the wrong results.

A key reason for this failure is they don't know how to deliver the all-important "leadership talk Call-to-action".

"Call" comes from an Old English word meaning "to shout." A Call-to-Action is a "shout for action." Implicit in the concept is urgency and forcefulness. But most leaders don't deliver the most effective Calls-to-action because they make three errors regarding it.

First, they err by mistaking the Call-to-Action as an order. 

Second, leaders err by mistaking the Call as theirs to give. The best Call-to-action is not the leader's to give. It's the people's to give. It's the people's to give to themselves. A true Call-to-action prompts people to motivate themselves to take action.

The most effective Call-to-action then is not from the leader to the people but from the people to the people themselves!

Third, the error by not priming their Call. There are two parts to the Call-to-Action, the primer and the Call itself. Most leaders omit the all-important primer.

The primer sets up the Call, which is to prompt people to motivate themselves to take action. You control the primer. The people control the Call.

The primer/Call is critical because every leadership communication situation is, in essence, a problem situation. There is the problem the leader has. And there is the problem the people have.

In many cases, they are two different problems. But leaders get into trouble regarding the Call-to-action when they think it's only one problem, mainly theirs.

For instance, a leader might be talking about the organization needing to be more productive. So, the leader talks PRODUCTIVITY. 

On the other hand, the people, hearing PRODUCTIVITY, think, YOU'RE GOING TO GIVE ME MORE WORK! 

If the leader thinks that productivity is the people's problem and ignores the "more work" aspect, h/she's Call-to-action will probably be a bust, resulting in the people avoiding committed action.

Let's apply the primer/Call dynamic to the productivity case. The leader talks PRODUCTIVITY: but this time uses a PRIMER. The primer's purpose is to establish a "critical confluence" – the union of your problem with the problem of the people. 

In this case, the leader creates a critical confluence by couching productivity within the framework of MORE MEANINGFUL WORK.

The primer may be: LET'S GET TOGETHER AND SEE IF YOU CAN COME UP WITH AN ACTION PLAN THAT WILL ENSURE THAT THE PRODUCTIVITY GAINS YOU IDENTIFY AND EXECUTE WILL ENABLE YOU TO WORK AT WHAT'S MEANINGFUL TO YOU. 

Note what we've done:

The primer is LET'S GET TOGETHER AND SEE IF YOU CAN COME UP WITH AN ACTION PLAN. 

The actual Call is from the people to themselves: LET'S INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY BY WORKING AT WHAT'S MEANINGFUL. 

With that Call, the leader moves from just getting average results (YOU MUST BE MORE PRODUCTIVE: i.e., you're going to solve MY problem) to get great results (YOU COME UP WITH WAYS TO TIE PRODUCTIVITY INTO MEANINGFUL WORK: i.e. you're also going to solve your problem.)

So, here's what the Motivational Talk Call-to-action is truly about: It's not an order; it's best manifested when the people give themselves the Call, and it is always primed by you creating the "critical confluence" -- they'll be solving their problem as well as yours.

The vast majority of leaders we've worked with worldwide are hampering their careers for one simple reason: They're giving presentations and speeches -- not motivational talks. 

You have a great opportunity to turbocharge your career by recognizing the power of motivational talks.

Before you give a motivational talk to your staff, ask three basic questions.

  1. Do you know what people need?

  2. Can you bring deep belief to what you're saying?

  3. Can you have the people take the right action? 

If you say "no" to any of those questions, you cannot give a motivational talk. If you answer "no", work on bringing in an expert that can give motivational talks to your people until you can say, "yes". In that way, you'll start getting the right results in the right way consistently.

The changing global marketplace can force you to confront a world of differences in cultures, time zones, and currencies; but one thing will always remain the same, the need for great leadership to drive great results.


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