Understand motivation to get the best out of yourself and your team

Aug 1, 2023 | Articles

Do you know what motivates you? How about what motivates your team, not just as a collective but individually? Being able to answer these questions is key to unlocking higher business performance, as well as improving your wellbeing.

Unlike inherent personality traits, motivation tends to be a very fluid thing—it changes over time, according to your needs, desires and perception of meaning. This is also true of starting a business. In those early days, you’re full of excitement (and a little fear), and the primary drive is to get a team and the resources together to get the thing off the ground. Once the pace is a little more stable, the motivation then becomes about keeping things going smoothly and working on strategies for growth.

You’ll also be more alert to keeping your team as motivated as you are. For in the early days of a start-up, it’s easy for everyone to feed off the energy of potential. You’re all part of this shiny new thing and it feels like anything is possible. However, once things ‘stabilise’, it’s easy for everyone to fall into their routines and almost automatically begin to produce the work that’s expected of them, week in and week out. Without new challenges or responsibilities, there’s a danger of both your team and yourself of losing the edge that drove the company towards success in the first place. Staff may start feeling bored and unfilfilled and start looking for something new and fresh again.

This is why it’s vital that you gain a better understanding of motivation. There are three main clusters of motivation—Achievement, Growth and Relationships. Within these are nine individual motivators and the value they bring, thus:

Achievement Motivators

  • The Director—Seeks power, influence and control of people and resources. Example of value they bring: Takes responsibility for tasks
  • The Builder—Seeks money, material satisfactions and above average living. Example of value they bring: Helps create revenue
  • The Expert—Seeks knowledge, mastery and specialisation. Example of value they bring: Helps drive efficiency

Growth Motivators

  • The Creator—Seeks innovation, identification with new concepts and expressing creative potential. Example of value they bring: Helps drive innovation
  • The Spirit—Seeks freedom, independence and making own decisions. Example of value they bring: Self-motivated
  • The Searcher—Seeks meaning, making a difference and providing worthwhile things. Example of value they bring: Finds ways to add value to business

Relationship Motivators

  • The Defender—Seeks security, predictability and stability. Example of value they bring: Helps limit risk expense
  • The Friend—Seeks belonging, friendship and fulfilling relationships. Example of value they bring: Supports team morale
  • The Star—Seeks recognition, respect and social esteem. Example of value they bring: Builds brand awareness

To get an idea of what motivates you, rank these nine motivators in order of importance, from high to low. Think about your lowest motivator—Who might this be a high motivator for in your team? Why might this be important to them? How is this of value to your organisation? Answering these questions are not only helpful in terms of motivation, they’ll also help you delegate better.

Look at your three strongest motivators. How well does your role conform to them? What more could you do to increase your motivation? Find out what each member of your team is motivated by and discuss what more could be done to make their role more fulfilling.

Do you need help understanding both your own motivation and that of your team? We offer coaching and team development to enable leaders and their teams to enhance their trajectory towards success, all based on Evolve’s exclusive methodology.

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