So if we do build on the concept that was discussed in a previous newsletter that: A rising tide raises all ships, how do we go about lifting up the sprits and enhancing the motivation of those around us? I’m glad you asked because I am going to do my best to try and share my thoughts on this subject which are by no means definitive. Far be it from me to throw at you a new and previously undiscovered “10 magic keys to motivating your team!”
No, this is not a definitive list and you may have some key techniques that I haven’t even thought of yet, so good for you!
When I challenge the attendees at our seminars to become the Motivators instead of the Motivatees, that is usually when I start to get the raised eyebrows and funny looks from everyday people. It is almost tangible that you can hear them thinking: “I can’t motivate people”, “I can’t get up and Rah Rah the team”, “I don’t have streams of inspiring quotes up my sleeve that I can just recite at will”. But my immediate response to that is: BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASSUME! You see, the standard image of a Motivator that most people have is that of a professional speaker, dressed in a suit, with the gift of the gab and with many an authored book under his arm as he points his dictatorial finger at a group in a P.W. Botha-kind of way and tells everyone what they should be doing without forgetting to reprimand them for what they’ve been doing wrong all these years.
That’s not my experience. I looked back very carefully on my life and tried to analyse exactly what did motivate me in the right directions at different times. I’m certain that if you think about this, many people will find exactly the same as I did – that those people in my life that would have been most expected to motivate me.... didn’t. Those wise and educated teachers of my early years often didn’t even try to motivate me. Many times they were glad to have me in the class so they had an example of what not to do for the rest of the kids to learn from. Pink Floyd summarised many of my memories of early school in their rendition of The Wall.
No, if I look back on my life, and I’m sure that it was the same for many of you, I find that the moments that really changed me for the better, which I really grew as a person, were not characterised by professional orators, amplified sound, PowerPoint presentations or even Fireworks and stage shows. More often than not my growth spurts were inspired by a quiet cup of coffee with a mentor or somebody that I aspired to, who may have simply dropped a pearl of wisdom into my life that I may not have even understood immediately. I might have had to mull it over for a week or two before I eventually got what they were trying to tell me. That is my experience. The serious point I am trying to make here is that to motivate others is actually a lot simpler than most people could ever imagine. Don’t ever underestimate how much any one of us can do with even the simplest of approaches.
1) Don’t underestimate the power of a smile.
Now don’t roll your eyes and switch off! I’ll admit that even to me this sounds airy-fairy and pathetic, but stay with me a moment longer. There is a certain kind of power in a smile. Think of a time when you had some serious stuff going on in your life, when there were crises going down.... do you remember when that person close to you didn’t say a word, they just smiled....? and your heart warmed a little? Briefly you started to conceive that everything was going to be OK. That you would make it through that situation and you’d still be alive. That is the power of a smile. They say “a smile can speak a thousand words”, and it really can. Let me sidetrack for a second, I have also heard it said that “you can say almost anything to anyone with a smile on your face”. It’s the kind of thing that seems so believable yet we are reluctant to test it. And the reverse is also true. Almost anything can be taken negatively if your face looks like thunder!
I rhetorically ask myself. They are designed to move! “JUST SMILE DAMMIT!” as that popular local radio station likes to preach.
Put a smile on your face. It really will lift up the people around you. Nobody wants to look at your sulky, dejected, miserable face all day long. Brighten it up and you’ll feel better too, I promise.
2) Don’t underestimate that word of encouragement that we so seldom give.
When did you last walk up to someone and give them a sincere pat on the back and praise them for what they are doing right? When did you last go out of your way to find something laudable in somebody? I believe our country needs more leaders prepared to walk around their teams catching people doing things RIGHT. Just remember: what gets praised - gets done.
A mentor of mine once said, “Praise, don’t perfect.” I think this was a good example of one of those pearls of wisdom that took me a while to understand as mentioned earlier. I’ve caught myself guilty of contravening this principle. Once I went on an extended overseas business trip and before I left I had tasked my assistant with a list of around thirty special assignments that needed to be dealt with during my absence. On my return we scheduled a meeting to debrief the outcomes of the project list, and of the thirty original jobs around twenty-seven had been largely completely but there were a few glitches on three of them. Immediately I found myself focussing on the three dropped balls instead of celebrating the twenty-seven victories.
This is our nature, isn’t it? We will sit and concentrate on correcting the “little details” in order to pad out the environment of the perfect lives we want for ourselves, but forget quickly the efforts that are put in by others and end up discouraging them in the process.
It is also conceivable that if we could effectively and sincerely praise the actions of others they may be inclined to even like you more, and if they like you more they may even find themselves complimenting you in turn at some point in the future. Here is further evidence of “A rising tide raises all ships”. Case Closed.
Phew! I think on that note I’ll save my other ideas on this topic until the next newsletter for all of our sakes as I wouldn’t want you unsubscribing because the articles are too long and I may need a little more time to gather my thoughts and think up something intelligent. So as they say on the magic box “tune in next month for the exciting conclusion to this series”.
Click here to view the Movers and Shakers website for the our diversity of Motivation - motivational Activities | Corporate team building activities & events | Activities & events | Business team building activities & entertainment | Outdoor team building activities and indoor teambuilding events | Corporate entertainment activities | Exciting adventure team building | Adventure events | Team building games | Fun indoor team building games and outdoor game events.