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On leadership: How great leaders motivate their employees

When you determine what specifically motivates each of your employees, you can target ways to create an engaged workforce.

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Pam Solberg-Tapper

Having highly motivated employees improves productivity, morale and retention — and can positively impact your business’ success.

As a leader, it is in your best interest to create an environment where employees are motivated and engaged to do their best work. In order to do this, you need to find out what motivates them. Because each person is unique, what motivates one employee may not motivate another. Thus, implementing broad-based initiatives to motivate employees can be a challenge and may not produce the outcomes that you are seeking.

One of the simplest and most effective ways to find out what motivates your people is to simply ask them. Meet with them individually and have a conversation regarding what drives them.

The following tool is effective in understanding what motivates your employees. Have employees rank from first to tenth what is most important to them. Then, discuss their responses to become aware of what specifically they mean by each motivator.

  • Opportunity to do what I do best every day
  • Receive appreciation and recognition for quality work
  • Know that my opinions and ideas count
  • Have job security and market-based wages and benefits
  • Know that my peers do quality work
  • Receive clear expectations and quality feedback
  • Be a part of mission driven work
  • Opportunity for growth and development
  • Have the resources and time to do the job
  • Caring management and flexibility
  • Other?

When you determine what specifically motivates each of your employees, you can target ways to create an engaged workforce. For example, if appreciation is high in ranking, you will want to give that person more recognition. Or, if someone ranks opportunity for growth and development high, you will want to give them stretch assignments.
Taking the time to understand what specifically motivates your employees will benefit you, them and your business.

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Pam Solberg-Tapper, is a professional certified coach, business consultant and professional speaker. She provides tools to address the challenges that face individuals and companies today. For questions or to submit questions or ideas for future columns, please contact her at pam@coachforsuccess.com or 218-729-0772.

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