Motivation for Lazy People

I am honored to have Mark Walsh contribute to “Kelly’s Contemplation” this week!  While Mark will provide the content, I am still going to include a video of the week…enjoy this short clip and then read on for Mark’s great post.  Mark…Thank-You for you contribution!

We are all motivated in one way or another and we can all inspire and influence others – this is human nature. Working on an under-funded difficult project with an overworked team however it may not seem this way! While there no are no magic-motivation wands here are a few considerations that may help.

People are Smart

What do people have to gain from being part of a project? If the answer is nothing they will figure this out pretty quickly and all the tricks in the books won’t help. In some management training people are taught to manipulate others but unless a genuine win-win is offered this won’t get you very far. Start by assuming people are smart and offer them something they need.

It’s all About Needs

There are no lazy people, only people meeting their needs in ways you may not like. Human needs are universal, not strategies for other things and are what drive all human behavior. As a project manger (dare I say leader) ask what needs you can meet with limited resources. If you have no budget to reward people, don’t panic – financial rewards are actually very poor motivators compared to intrinsic rewards. Creativity, appreciation (a “thank you” doesn’t cost a penny), meaning, respect, autonomy, consideration, belonging and fun are all big drivers for example. Can you tap into any of these on a project to bring out the best in people?

Meaning and Emotional Management

What inspires and motivates people is not normally facts and data but emotional content. What is the “heart” of a project? How can you connect the big picture of what people care about to the daily grind to make it meaningful…and well, less of a grind?

Authentic Management

If you believe in a project and are authentic and passionate about it you will inspire others. Motivation begins at home and leadership isn’t a set of tricks but about who you are. Get your own motivation in order and others will follow. Note that words not enough to do this and that you must build leadership presence through passion, experience and embodied practices to really motivate.

Matrix Team Management

Working with virtual or matrix teams brought together for a short period also presents certain challenges. The lack of embodied communication distance creates should be avoided where possible with face-to-face meetings being best with Skype, phone and e-mail in descending order of usefulness in motivating. In such contexts the importance of listening and good communication skills is paramount. Time and time again I have seen technically proficient leaders fail because they lack the necessary people management and leadership skills. Good quality management training is necessary to build this skill set; it won’t just come naturally for most people.

So: assume people are smart, look for win-wins, meet people’s intrinsic needs, appeal to emotions, get your own house in order and watch out for disembodied communication and poor listening and you’ll have no problem motivating even “lazy” people.

Mark Walsh leads management training providers Integration Training – based in Brighton, London and Birmingham UK. Specialising in working with emotions, the body and spirituality at work they help organisations get more done without going insane (time and stress management), coordinate action more effectively (team building and communication training) and help leaders build impact, influence and presence (embodied management training).

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