What Motivates People

If you’re a manager, you are called on regularly to motivate others. Being a successful leader relies on your ability to help others perform well.  Traditionally, we use the carrot and stick approach.  We bribe people with money or other incentives.  But, once the incentive goes away, so does the drive to be better.

According to Career Analyst Dan Pink, incentive-based motivation is actually harmful to the current business environment where innovation and creativity are required.

For today’s leaders, it’s important to remember that motivation is not one-size-fits all. Some people are motivated by money, but others respond to being given autonomy.  Some people respond to a challenge, the chance to be part of a solution or master a skill.  While for others, purpose is their primary motivator.  Successful leaders know their team and understand how best to motivate each individual.

Employee Mistakes

How do you react when someone who works for you, or who’s work affects yours, makes a mistakes? Do you confront or blame?  Do you pretend it never happened?  Or do you use mistakes as a learning opportunity – one that allows you to improve processes and systems?

Blaming damages rapport – creating fear, anxiety and job dissatisfaction. Ignoring a mistake in the hopes that it won’t happen again is shortsighted.

Mistakes reveal breakdowns in the system. The breakdowns could be the result of poor planning or the consequences of cultural differences and expectations.  They can also lead to unexpected innovation.

Effective leaders give employees the opportunity explain and offer their solutions for avoiding future mistakes. They also bring stakeholders together to refine and improve the way things get done.

Your Reaction to Stress More Harmful Than Frequency

Researchers from Penn State and Columbia University conducted a study that revealed our reaction to stress may be more harmful than how often we experience stressful situations.

They analyzed interviews and electrocardiograms of over 900 people. From that data, the researchers determined that a person’s perception and emotional reaction to stressful events has a greater negative impact on heart function – a factor that also contributes to heart disease.

How we respond to stress is a learned behavior that can be changed with mindfulness and conscious choice.   Here’s a tip for the next time a anxious situation starts your heart racing and sends your mind into a negative spiral. As long as your life is not in danger, just stop.  Clear your mind.  Relax your shoulders and breathe.  Don’t name it, dwell on it or run to find someone to commiserate with.  Just sit quietly and allow you level head to prevail.


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