How to motivate another person

Nik Moore - The Mindset Ninja

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Published: 16th May 2020

This Article was Written by: Nik Moore - The Mindset Ninja

Are you a leader? A team member? Even a parent? If so, you’ll probably want to know how to motivate another person close to you.

Are you a leader?

I’m a leader, are you? In fact, irrespective of whether you have people working for you or not, we’re all leaders in some shape or form in our lives.

There will always be other people upon whom we have influence. Inside work as well as outside. And leadership skills are not just reserved for those people with the name “manager” written somewhere on their business card.

Leading people, put simply, is about being the type of person to whom others listen to and show respect. Of course there are many, many other elements to a great leader, but when you put it like this, in such simple terms, you start to see leadership as being something that applies to us all. We all influence people in our lives for mutual gain:

  • Convincing someone to go to a particular holiday destination
  • Getting your child do their homework
  • Influencing a friend to leave a toxic relationship
  • Three everyday life experiences that all require the same core leadership skills as you see manifested in the top boardrooms around the globe.

    So we’re all leaders in one sense or another but the key question here is, (assuming that you are in fact a manager) how do you motivate a member of your team? In fact, let’s get even more challenging here……

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    How do you motivate a difficult-to-manage team member?

    Difficult to manage people have many layers. In fact we all do. Our respective life histories make us who we are. However if you set about trying to understand the layers in that person, you can discover what motivates them and, in the case of an unruly team player, more so what de-motivates them.

    Very often the reason why some people have a bad attitude is not just because that’s how they are, but instead because they have something at work which is triggering their de-motivation. Turn it on its head and try and find that out. It could be something like:

  • They don’t feel like their opinion is listened to. So they feel lonely at work.
  • They feel they get all the worst jobs thrown at them.
  • They regularly see other people getting given more challenging work.
  • It could even be something as simple as how you told them off 6 months ago that made them feel worthless.
  • And because we are all different, if I were to type out this list above and attempt to cover off all eventual possibilities in life, this blog would easily be well over a million pages long. The key therefore is to ask them what their pain points are and how you can work with the person to address them.

    How do you know when they are motivated? Don’t miss the tell-tale signs.

    At the time of writing this article, it’s 06:07am on a Saturday morning here in the UK. I’m at my desk in my home study. What the heck am I doing? Shouldn’t I be back in bed? It’s the weekend.

    The better question to ask is “why did I get up just after dawn this morning on a weekend and open up my laptop”? That’s a better question to ask.

    Because the answer will reveal the fact that I’m massively motivated at the moment in life. Our actions show whether we are motivated or de-motivated. All we need to do as leaders is look out for the signs.

    When people do things that seem strange, or out of the ordinary for them, yet those behaviours have a positive outcome, that’s them getting into their flow state. It’s the little things that show that your efforts are working:

  • They seem happier than normal. Maybe more engaging with other people.
  • If they had traditionally been late for work, they are now at their desk on time.
  • They’re using their mobile less during the day to check up on Facebook.
  • They’ve started jogging every lunchtime – they’ve always talked about doing this but never done anything about it.
  • They start bringing healthy food to work instead of eating the usual burger and chips at lunch in the staff canteen.
  • When people feel connected with their “calling in life” it manifests itself in so many different ways. They start doing things that they’ve always wanted to do yet never done anything about before.

    Exposure is the key that unlocks the door.

    As the saying goes, nothing comes of nothing. So your job as a leader is to be a coach. Now the job of the coach is defined by working with the other person’s “map of reality” as it’s called. In other words, finding out what’s important to the coachee, and then getting them to do something, through action, that brings results to their life which are in alignment with those important things.

    Basically, find out what’s important to them….then create a scenario where they get exposed to things that nourish their desires and values.

    As an example:

  • John works in the marketing department at a small Pharmaceutical Company.
  • John is late for work, by about 5 minutes each time, on average 3 days a week.
  • John’s boss has traditionally told him off but it’s not working so he tries another approach.
  • The boss asks John what’s important to him in his work.
  • John says he’s a team player therefore he likes to feel part of a project team and loves working on new ideas and bringing them to life. He also explains that his job has become repetitive in the last 6 months.
  • John’s boss now involves him in all team meetings between marketing and the R&D department. The boss also asks John to manage all communications between the departments and regularly asks John for his opinion on big decisions.
  • John comes to work with more purpose now. He is being allowed to nourish what’s important to him. He now turns up for work on average 30 minutes early. He has found his calling.
  • The power of working at a values level.

    I’ve worked with companies in the past where I have run team brainstorming sessions to elicit the values of the team and then we’ve used them to create the overall corporate values. It’s probably one of the most exciting parts of my job, but why?

    Because when you ask people about their values (i.e. what’s important to them in life), you can see their face light up.

    We are motivated at an unconscious level by our values. One of my values is respect for other people (thanks Mum, I’ve learned this from you and how you brought me up. x). So when I see a pregnant lady get on the London Underground, I’ll offer up my seat out of respect. My behaviour of giving up the seat, i.e. the explicit manifestation of the value, is driven consciously by the unconscious value of “respect for other people”.

    So finding out what’s important to a member of your team, and then giving them opportunities at work where they can do things that are in alignment with their value…. well…..BOOM! Watch what happens to their motivation levels and productivity.

    Where do values come from?

    And by the way, I deliberately gave a shout out for my dear old Mum as an example of where many of our values come from because our values are derived from other people. In a sense they are “injected” into us when we were younger. Not just in childhood but over the entire course of our past life. We see how other people have acted in our life histories and then we modelled the behaviour of those people. Those people are our role models. And very often we’re not even consciously aware of the values that they “injected” into us. And again, very often, the person in question was a parent or guardian.

    What can I do today to motivate a member of my team?

    I love simplicity. So here are 3 simple steps that you can use right now.

    1. Ask a member of the team into a meeting and tell them that you’d like to discuss how you can support them better as their manager.
    2. Ask them what’s important in their job. Not in terms of their current workload but in terms of their ideal job. What would their ideal job look like?
    3. Now collaborate with that person to find out ways in which you can expose them to tasks that will nourish that value. Make sure that it’s them driving the idea generation. That’s how to get them owning of the process and they’ll be far more likely to make it happen.

    And, of course, then make sure that you both follow through on the actions.

    Please allow me a shameless plug here. If you’d like to know more about the corporate / personal values work that I do with teams and individuals (and believe me there is a lot we can do together in this area), please get in touch for an exploratory chat. All the best. And here’s to your future with a high-performing team working underneath you.

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