Friday, April 10, 2009

The Mistake of All Mistakes in Motivating Employees

Managers around the world are committing a fatal error that is depriving their people and companies of improvement, progress, and success. While very few know of the dilemma, its solution is the most important and powerful principle that any coach or manager will ever learn.Imagine stepping into an enormous kitchen overflowing with uncooked meals and desserts. All of the necessary ingredients for a countless assortment of dinners are there - you simply have to prepare them.Now imagine preparing and cooking them in identically the same way. It doesn't matter what meal you are dealing with - you follow one set of instructions without fail.Perhaps your favorite meal is a thick and juicy hamburger. If you're actually preparing and cooking a hamburger, you're right on track. But what if you're dealing with ice cream sandwiches. How well do you think throwing some ice cream onto a grill would work? Trying to flip it so both side get evenly cooked?THE GREATEST MANAGEMENT MISTAKEPreparing and cooking ice cream in the same manner as a hamburger would obviously result in failure. You can't treat all ingredients and meals as the same thing - they are all different, requiring different methods and techniques to achieve their particular result.The greatest management mistake should becoming painfully clear: many managers treat all employees as the same assortment of ingredients trying to motivate them toward greater success using one cookie-cutter approach.Just as failure results from throwing ice cream on a grill, so too will a manager fail in inspiring his people if he attempts to do so using a single method.The people on your team are as different as baked beans and apple pie. They each work from a unique set of motivators, responding to some with excited action and others with boredom or even anger.It's up to you to discover what drives each one of your team members. What elements excite them? What elements turn them off? It may take a little time and concerted effort on your part, but uncovering the powerful motivators that drive your people will be the best thing you can do for you and your team.Remember, you may respond to financial rewards or incentives, but that doesn't mean everyone on your team will share your sentiments. Listen to your people. Recognize and utilize their motivators. You are dealing with a wide assortment of ingredients, and following this principle will allow you to prepare each one with amazing success.

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