Understanding how to motivate people is key in any business and especially in non-profits. Early in life, I thought most people were motivated by cash. After all, happiness comes with more stuff, right? Well, that’s not been my experience. While most of us want to live well, most people I know would give money for the satisfaction of doing something they love. While I still have a long way to go in becoming a better manager of people, here are a few things I’ve learned over the years.
Praise publicly; criticize privately. There’s nothing more encouraging to a team member than the praise of a superior in a public setting. The opposite, however, is true for criticism. Over the years, I have made the mistake of inverting this equation with dire consequences.
Take a chance. Everyone wants to have an impact in their work environment. One of the most motivational things you can do as a team leader is to take a chance on an idea or project by someone who works for you. This type of affirmation means more to some than money.
Be creative. Sometimes, you need to find small but meaningful ways to say “thank you” to the entire staff. At The A Group, we often have ice cream, pizza, or cake around. From time to time, we take the entire team out for ice cream; we have even gone bowling, miniature golf, and go-cart racing.
Unless you understand what people value the most, you cannot properly reward them. For some, they want to hear words of affirmation, for others, it is the ability to take more ownership or implement an idea, and, yes, to some it’s a raise.
Beyond a raise, how do you want to be rewarded?