By Van Natter Consulting Group

You Can Only Lead People, When You Understand How to Motivate them
Have you ever been in a situation where you felt that your leader did not care about motivating you or the team? How about where your leader used the “do as I say” or ‘Just get it done’ forms of motivation? Did it make you want to stay with the team or perform at your best? I guess it didn’t, as these leaders typically have a high employee turnover rate and are generally unsuccessful in the long term.
So how do you motivate a team and have each team member perform at their best? When I was a VP Chase Private Client Manager in Manhattan, NY (team of 27, $1.2 Billion in assets, $36 million in average annual sales), two main strategies created the most motivated teams.
Create an atmosphere that fosters motivation.
Being a versatile motivator.
By applying these strategies together, I found that even my most unmotivated team member became a top performer.

Create an Atmosphere that Fosters Motivation

I like to focus on four actions that create the right atmosphere for motivation to take place. They are build trust, develop relationships, nurture hope and optimism, and lead with both my mind and heart.
I start by building trust. Which, in many ways, is a leader’s most crucial role. I begin by always being honest and treating everyone with respect and then build on that to gain their trust in my coaching skills and leadership abilities.
To gain their trust in my coaching skills, they shadow me as I spend time talking to customers. If the customer is receptive, I then review their accounts and look for ways to help with the banker watching. By doing this, the banker sees my process and realizes that I can do what I am coaching them to do.
To build trust in my leadership abilities, I stay calm when problems arise and look for solutions. I give the team credit for the team’s success and take the blame for the team’s mistakes. After all, if I have not led the team to succeed, then it is my fault.
To create relationships with my team, I get to know them both personally and professionally. I ask about their family, and I share about myself. Most importantly, I hold off-site events that involve either only the team or their families.
I nurture hope and optimism by explaining what success looks like, how it feels, and how it rewards them. I then consistently remind them that they have the skills and ability to accomplish that vision.
I lead with both my mind and heart, using both data and emotion in my decision-making process. This gains my team’s appreciation in my decision-making process. For example, If I have a banker whose production has been down for the past two months, we have a 1-on-1 to uncover the issues that caused the drop together. We then create a plan to get the banker’s production back on track. They know I intend to help them instead of criticizing, allowing for open and honest coaching.

Be a Versatile Motivators

I have found that being a versatile motivator allows me to shift from one motivation style to another, depending on what type works best for each employee.
To uncover each person’s preferred motivation style, I ask questions like, “how have your past managers helped you succeed,” “when you are performing at your best, what did you need from your manager,” or “what’s the one thing I can do to help you succeed.” If I feel that an employee is replying with what they think I want to hear, I dig deeper and ask more questions.
My past teams responded best to the ‘support and push to succeed,’ ‘cheerleader,’ and ‘teacher.’ Styles of motivation.
I found that the ‘support and push to succeed’ style works best with team members with sales skills but lack personal talent. For instance, they may have poor time management skills but thrive in a highly structured motivation/coaching structure.
I use the ‘cheerleader’ motivation style with team members that are either successful and confident or successful and think no one else notices. Both prosper through recognition in 1-on-1 and group meetings to cheer on their performance.
I help motivate new employees with the ‘teacher’ style of motivation, where I link their existing skills to their new role. For instance, they may be great at connecting features to benefits but need to learn the new product’s characteristics.
I hope that reading this article has motivated you to add these two strategies (creating an atmosphere that fosters motivation and being a versatile motivator) to your motivation backpack. If so, let me know in the comments section how you would use them in your world.

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