Rise Performance Group

10 Attributes of Highly Self-Motivated People

Motivating employeesPart 2 – Author: Scheherazade Perkins, M.A.

In part one of this blog series, I outlined how managers need to get creative about motivating their employees without dangling the dollar in front of them. For many organizations, this is not a choice. Constrained budgets and resources mean leaders NEED to find other ways of motivating their staff.

I also promised to share with you ten traits of highly self-motivating people. Gail Cohen, lecturer, consultant, and author compiled a list of attributes that typify self-motivated individuals.

Self-motivated people:

1. Understand their purpose in life and live it.

2. Live outside their area of comfort. Do something every day that is a little bit risky.

3. Get involved with every facet of life (leave no stone unturned).

4. Energize (jump in with both feet).

5. Exemplify humility. They are able to laugh at themselves, admit vulnerabilities, and take criticism.

6. Learn something new every day (not by accident, but by design).

7. Believe in themselves and others.

8. Are persistent — able to explore options (never give up – never say die).

9. Strive for health in all aspects of their lives (physically, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, and socially).

10.  Rise above problems, adversity, loss, and momentary failure.

As managers and leaders, it is our job to recognize and replicate these types of attributes throughout our organizations. The first signal is that the individual is a good fit for the job.  They possess the ability to handle the mental demands of the job; their work style is consistent with the styles of those who are generally successful in the assignment and they genuinely enjoy the kind of work they’re being asked to perform. We term employees that meet these requirements a “good job match.” But, beyond that, we look for individuals that possess strong emotional intelligence (EI) and can manage their feelings and emotions in such a way that they are able to bring forth the best performance from themselves and those around them. They demonstrate job maturity and the ability to respond favorably to change and stress as it occurs. Once we find these individuals, what can we do to enhance this valued employee’s satisfaction and job performance?

So, how do you know what motivates your employees? Answer – Listen to them.  Listen to how they encourage each other. Listen for what they feel is important. Watch for signals of peer to peer recognition. Ask them what makes them feel good about their work or their company.  Here are a few suggestions that my former employees have made when asked what was important to them:

  1. Change in job title
  2. Increased responsibility or accountability
  3. Cubicle or office change
  4. Office with amenity (window)
  5. Special parking
  6. Time off (flex hours)
  7. Training
  8. A write-up in company newsletter or in-house TV monitor
  9. Concierge’s service
  10. Suggestion awards (ask for and listen to their ideas)
  11. Personal letter from the company president
  12. Telegram from a celebrity
  13. Massage (in-house or at a spa)
  14. Dinner and a movie for two
  15. Peer recognition (peers can recognize each other with a Movie pass or giftcard)
  16. Boss for a day
  17. Shadow the CEO for a day
  18. Participation in a company cause (Habitat for Humanity, Race for the Cure -Susan G. Komen walk, etc)…
  19. Ad in the local newspaper highlighting a special employee
  20. Bonus points that can be traded for gifts or prizes

If all else fails, just say thank you for a job well done.  If offered with sincerity, and at the right time, it can go a loooooooooong way toward increasing job satisfaction and a sense of appreciation.

In the end, have a healthy respect for individuals and treat them as such. Don’t assume that one technique works for all people. Take the time to get to know your employees, as professionals and as people. Understand what “makes them tick” and what brings out their very best. Money is the easy way out and it rarely achieves the desired results. Those results, when positive, can be short-lived. How do you motivate employees, without dangling the dollar? Hire self-motivated employees and create an environment that makes them feel valued, respected, appreciated, and brings out their best work.

Share your experiences with me. How do you motivate in your organization?

Looking for other ways to drive growth through leadership? This will help…

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