How Can I Get My Team Motivated?
Trying to get someone else motivated is often a very confusing and frustrating mission. I am often asked by dentists and managers, how can I get my team motivated? They are frustrated after trying a multitude of ideas including financial incentives and not seeing any change in behavior.
This may sound familiar to you?
We gave the team a bonus and they acted as if they were entitled to it…
We gave the team time off with pay and they didn’t show any appreciation…
We hosted a holiday party event for the entire team and their spouses and they complained…
We have the latest and greatest in technology, service and equipment and my team takes it for granted…
So if this is the norm…how do we get our team motivated?
The psychologist Fredrick Herzberg asked the same question in the 1950s and 60s as a means of understanding employee satisfaction. He set out to determine the effect of attitude on motivation, by asking people to describe situations where they felt really good, and really bad, about their jobs. What he found was that people who felt good about their jobs gave very different responses from the people who felt bad. Herzberg’s findings revealed that certain characteristics of a job are consistently related to job satisfaction, while different factors are associated with job dissatisfaction.
Factors of Satisfaction:
The work itself
Factors of Dissatisfaction:
Relationship with supervisor and peers
The conclusion he drew is that job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction are not opposites.
For example, if you have a negative work environment, increasing someone’s wage or giving them a promotion will not make him or her satisfied. If you create a healthy work environment but do not provide members of your team with any of the satisfaction factors such as recognition, advancement or growth; the work they’re doing will still not be satisfying.
People are motivated by interesting work, challenge, and increasing responsibility. These intrinsic factors answer people’s deep-seated need for growth and achievement. In a nutshell dissatisfaction can demotivate but removing the source of dissatisfaction will not motivate. It takes satisfaction to motivate someone to work harder or smarter.
Herzberg’s work influenced a generation of doctors and managers yet his conclusions don’t seem to have changed the American workplace. Compensation and incentive packages are still considered the number one way to motivate.
Job satisfaction happens when we shift the emphasis from output to impact. Instead of how many crowns have we done or how many patients have we seen today…how have we have changed our patients’ lives today? Motivation comes from the daily work itself, a sense belonging, and constant reminders that what we do matters.
I think of motivation as the seat of a 3 legged stool.
The first leg – Be a Lifter:
We can either empower or unpower! Help your team develop skill sets. Show your team that you believe in them by allowing them to continue to grow and learn by taking on new tasks and new roles…EVEN if you can do it faster or better. Be a creator who creates versus a wallower who sees themselves as a victim. Model the waddle you want to see. Let them know that what they think and what they do matters!
The second leg – Be a Family. Show appreciation and acceptance for each person as an individual. Celebrate uniqueness instead of comparing. Get to know each other on a deeper level. What else do they care about? Give them a sense of belonging. Don’t’ we often claim we are all like a family? So treat each other like a caring, happy and healthy family would treat one another!
The third leg – Be on Purpose. Have a clear vision and mission that reinforces a larger purpose. Emphasize the positive impact of the work they do not just in the practice but in the lives of the patients. Clarify the main intention of your practice by defining priorities and it will help give the team a decision making strategy. As part of the daily huddle, mission and purpose can make even mundane tasks become significant!
Surprisingly money is not one of the legs. Money is often a factor of dissatisfaction when compensation is not adequate or fair. Money quickly loses its impact to motivate any sustained performance.
The bottom line is we all want to feel like we have a bigger purpose in life…that we make a difference… that we belong…that we matter!