I’m a big fan of discovering and sharing new ideas at Quora. I regularly scan discussions from company culture to the most embarrassing moment in your life. On the question, “What motivates someone to do their best, and how can a manager best motivate his team/employees?” I really appreciate the response from Dustin Finer whose deep experience includes: COO at Myspace, former head of various corporate functions (HR/ADMIN/LEGAL/etc.) at both public and private companies, and a former employment lawyer. Here is Dustin’s response:
I answered this based on my own experiences. I limited this answer to strictly morale and not, for instance, how to create or foster a high performing team. Those are two different topics I believe. For morale, the top 5 things for me have always been:
1. People should leave work each day and each week feeling like they accomplished something. That means making sure you have set clear goals which are clearly communicated. Everyone on the team should know what the daily, weekly, quarterly or yearly objectives are. Can you imagine playing a game of basketball without understanding the rules and what the ultimate goal of the game is? It is very important for managers to make sure their teams understand what a win is at the end of every day. If you and your team leave work at the end of the day and feel like you achieved a goal (that hopefully feeds into the larger company goals), you tend to feel like you contributed to the greater good and feel more fulfilled.
2. The manager should genuinely understand his/her people. It makes a huge difference as a leader if you know (and genuinely care) about what is going on in your employees’ lives. I am sure more than a few people will disagree, but from a morale perspective I think it really matters if your boss knows you have to leave early to watch your kid’s game, knows when your birthday is, etc. It helps a manager better understand what someone may be going through on a given day or week. It also helps if your employees feel that you genuinely care about their career and them as people.
3. Show appreciation for when an individual or a team accomplish something important. My experience is that this means more than compensation, perks and other benefits. It is extremely important. [We couldn’t agree more]
5. As a leader of a team, ultimately the way you behave will be reflected in those that you manage. So, walk the walk, dont just talk the talk.