Trying to figure out why your staff is not motivated? Stop trying and ask them!

Publication 11, Issue 8

So many times managers say to me:  “Kathy G., it doesn’t look like Jane or Joe’s heart is in her/his work.” Or “I’ve been up a few nights this week trying to figure out why so-in-so’s head is not in the game, and I can’t figure it out!”  To which my reply is “Why don’t you just ask him/her?”

Managers sit and struggle trying to figure out what’s in the hearts and on the minds of their staff – they try and guess or predict what’s going on with him or her – it’s a tough spot to be in – and unless their crystal ball has got “über” powers – they’ll never figure it out!  So for those of you who know me to be “direct and fearless” – here’s what I have to say – don’t waste time trying to figure out why somebody on your staff doesn’t appear to be motivated or look like they’re interested in their work – just ask them!  Yes, it’s that simple!

Here’s a question you can use:  “Joe/Jane, I’m noticing lately that your head (or your heart) doesn’t seem to be in the game these days (or you don’t seem to be motivated) – what’s going on?”  You’ll be amazed as to what you’ll hear!  Then, stay up all night trying to figure out how to address the situation!  (I’m only kidding!)  Knowing his/her reply makes things much easier to manage, takes the guesswork out of your hands and stops things from further deteriorating because you are not acting on incorrect assumptions.

Remember, different words and actions motivate the Playground Personalities©.  So why might someone be demotivated?

  • Peacemakers – may feel undervalued.
  • Organizers – may have too many distractions.
  • Revolutionaries – might just be flat out bored!
  • Steamrollers – may not be challenged enough!

So managers – be brave and start asking questions to get back on track!  Here are two tips to get the conversations going:

  1. Set your intention – before you speak with the person make sure you really “want” to know what’s possibly bothering him/her, because once you ask, you’ll be on the hook to help him/her resolve the issue.
  2. Pick the right time – obviously when you or the other person aren’t stressed out!  Listen more, talk less and try to come up with a plan together.

Good luck!  Make me proud!

My thoughts are with everyone who was impacted by the destruction of Hurricane Sandy.

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