Motivating Employees Is Not About Carrots or Sticks

Leaders often rely on the carrot vs. the stick approach to motivate employees, where the carrot is a reward for compliance and the stick is a consequence for non-compliance. But this is an outdated approach that never really works well. Motivation is less about employees doing great work and more about employees feeling great about their work. There is no stronger motivation for employees than an understanding that their work matters, and is relevant to someone or something other than a financial statement. To motivate your employees, start by sharing context about the work you’re asking them to do. Recognise that challenges can materially impact motivation. Be proactive in identifying and addressing them. What might make an employee’s work difficult or cumbersome? What can you do to ease the burden? And remember that if you’re not engaged and enthusiastic about the work you do, it’s unlikely that your team will be. So, check in with yourself about how motivated you are for the job at hand, because employees feel more motivated when their leaders are also motivated.

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