Everyone wants to feel they are valued, to see themselves in a positive light. This is a fundamental human motivation proven by research. People are prepared to contribute more if they feel they are achieving something worthwhile.
Eight magic phrases are music to our ears! You don’t have to be a manager or supervisor to say them; you can show leadership as a fellow worker. (Some people say employers exploit this type of motivation to extract more from their workers for no extra cost. If the employer is doing this, it is extremely unethical and will rebound on the employer sooner or later.)
Make a note of these comments and use them when you feel it is appropriate:
“I believe in you.”
This confirmation of faith in a person is tremendously motivating. It shows trust and support for that person.
“What do you think?”
The fact that you respect another person sufficiently to ask their opinion is important to them. For example: an employee in a focus group I once ran in a large organization said, “This is the first time in my 20 years with the company that management have asked my opinion.” He was quite emotional about it.
“That was my fault.”
Your team already knows when you have made a mistake, so there is no point in covering up. If you own up to your mistakes they will respect your openness with them.
“Glad to have you on the team!”
This is one of the most powerful and motivating things you can say to an employee or colleague.
“Here’s where our company is going and these are our goals.”
Employees want to know the direction of the company and the way in which they will understand how they are progressing.
Obviously people feel better when you thank them for their efforts. To be even more effective, you should tell them specifically why the acknowledgment is being made. This shows them you are aware of how their specific effort has helped. For instance, say “Thanks for staying back late to finish that report yesterday. Senior management were impressed to receive it so quickly.”
“This is why.”
If you always give a reason, others will invariably respond more positively. Research has found that people can be up to 50% more cooperative if you tell them why: “I would like you to help with this because…” or “This policy has been changed because…”
“I know I can always count on you for…”
The important thing is to be specific. People want to be recognized for their strengths and talents. Specific recognition of these abilities in a conversation is a strong motivator for others.
Several of these points amount to employee recognition, praise, acknowledgment, approval, compliments etc. I believe these are extremely important motivators to every person, and I have written a Kindle book explaining how to do it well – Employee Recognition: The secret to great team performance, which you can use as a detailed guide.
Adapted from an article by David Mielach of Business News Daily.
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