Many leaders think that they can change people but that is not possible. People must change themselves. That doesn’t mean that leaders have no responsibility to people in their organizations in the area of motivation. It’s the leaders’ job to create an environment and culture where motivation is valued and rewarded. Below are ways to do that.

1. Start with motivated people: The best way to create a culture of motivation is to start with as many motivated people as you can. How can you identify motivated people? They usually have several of the following traits:

They exhibit a positive attitude

They can articulate specific goals for their life

They are initiators

They have a proven track record of success

And if you want people on your team to be motivated, you must be motivated yourself. People do what people see. We have to live it before expecting it from anyone else.

2. Understand the connection between relationships and motivation: people are motivated by leaders who connect with them and treat them like human beings. This might sound obvious but some leaders still miss it. Few things are more demotivating than working for someone who disrespect you.

3. Give each person a reputation to uphold: People often go father than they think they can go when someone else think they can. One way to show people that you believe in them and in the possibility of success for their future is to give them a reputation to uphold. Ask yourself what’s special, unique, and wonderful about each person on your team. All people have talents, skills, and positive traits that make them valuable to the team. Figure out what they are and share them with others. The more you validate people for the good things they do – or could do – the more they want to do them. Not only does this motivate them to perform in their strengths, it also encourages an environment where people say positive things about one another.

4. Reward what you want done: Most people will work for a reward they desire. If you want to create an environment where people are motivated, give them reasons to get things done. Rewards are motivating. Rules, consequences, and punishment don’t do anything to get people going. They merely keep people from doing their worst. If you want people’s best, give them incentives for performance.

Excerpt from “Good leaders ask great questions” by John C. Maxwell.

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