Performance and Motivation

Performance and Motivation: Being a Great Supervisor

You’ll know you are a great supervisor by the measure and results of your employee’s performance. Motivation that inspires your people will decrease their stress and increase their productivity. Personal motivators and praise for a job well done simply ensure a better job performance from employees. If you find the right way to communicate with them, you can affect real change to their performance and motivation, where they always want to go to work, grow, and succeed.

In this final part of this series of 37 questions, you’ll get the remaining 13 questions that you need to answer about performance and motivation that creates positive energy and results in your people.

  1. Why is it important to clearly link rewards to performance?
  • In order for a reward to work as a motivator, there has to be a clear link between the performance and the reward.
  • So in other words, be specific with your rewards.
  • For example, if you decide to give an employee an afternoon off, tie it specifically to the fact that they worked late all weekend to get a proposal finished on time.
  1. What are some examples of situations that might make a reward less effective?
  • Some people are motivated by public recognition, others prefer it privately.  Find out what works for each employee.
  • Be sensitive to your organization’s culture.  Does it promote “rah-rah” or is it lwo-key?  Don’t step too far outside the boundaries as it will likely make the person uncomfortable.
  • Be aware of the politics surrounding any situation.  If you reward someone for a specific success and you are not fully aware of any organizational politics, you may end up causing more trouble than good.
  1. What is the Significant Principle in leadership?
  • Motivation comes from the Significant Principle: Everyone wants what he or she does to be Significant.  Make it true, and make them believe it. – Tom Oliver, Executive VP of Federal Express
  1. Why is it important to consider the Significant Principle when motivating employees?
  • In order to motivate people, you need to understand what is significant to them.
  • The best way to find out is to ask them.
  • Observe.
  • Test.
  1. What can you do to put the Significant Principle into action?
  • The opportunities are endless, but following are just some ideas.
  • Offer praise
  • Say thank you
  • Be flexible in the application of rules
  • Celebrate often and unexpectedly
  • Make it safe to make mistakes
  • Be available
  • Establish a stress-free zone
  1. In order for praise to be a motivator, how do you need to give it to an employee?
  • Effective praise is S-S-I praise (Specific-Sincere-Timely).
  • Make sure that you tie it to specific performance.
  • People can tell if it’s not genuine; faking it will only backfire.
  • Timely means within 24 hours of you being made aware of the situation.
  1. What practical technique can you use to ensure that you are praising your employees consistently and frequently?
  • Conduct the ten-penny test.
  • Begin the morning with ten pennies in one pocket.  Every time during the day when you are able to offer S-S-I praise to an employee, move one penny to another pocket.
  • Your goal: to see how many pennies you move from one pocket to another.
  • There will be two outcomes of this experiment:
    • You’ll find out how much you are verbalizing praise (rather than just thinking about it)
    • The ten-penny test is a good way to train yourself to verbalize praise.
  1. What is one of the easiest, yet most effective, forms of praise?
  • Saying thank you.
  • Make sure that they are S-S-I thank yous.
  • If appropriate, say thank you to the employee’s spouse or significant other.  It goes a long way to create motivation and goodwill!
  1. Practically, what does it mean to be flexible in the application of rules?
  • Some supervisors get so caught up in the “policy” book that they stop exercising good judgment.
  • As a supervisor, one of your most powerful resources is your flexibility.
  • Take the risk and bend the rules occasionally to fit the needs of your department and your people.
  • I’m not saying take foolish risks, but I am asking you to take calculated ones where the potential positive outcome outweighs the possible negative consequences.
  • True, policies are there for a reason, but follow your instinct and be flexible.
  1. What are some practical ideas to celebrate often and unexpectedly?
  • Make a commitment to yourself that you will celebrate something at least once a week.
  • Make sure that it’s not predictable, otherwise it becomes something that is expected.  For example, a regular “donut meeting” every Friday morning loses its spontaneity, and therefore it’s motivating value
  • You can be traditional in how you celebrate: cupcakes, lunch, pizza brought in, gather them around to do a group thank-you
  • Or untraditional: play hooky one afternoon and take everyone to the movies.  Bring in a massage therapist to do 15-minute neck massages at their desks.  Have a poetry writing contest.  Have dress-up and dress-down days.  You get the idea.
  1. What does “make it safe to make mistakes” mean in the context of supervision?
  • “You polish your skills by doing it right, you learn from making mistakes.”
  • Make it safe for your employees to be lobsters.
  1. What can you do to make yourself more available to your employees?
  • Set “office hours”.
  • Set aside a period of time daily during which you walk around your workplace and stop in to talk to your employees, or a time during which you are available in your office for employees to come and see you.
  • This is particularly important if you have staff that work in geographically remote locations.  Office hours are the time when they know that they can find you in your office if they want to talk to you.
  1. What is a stress-free zone?
  • Set aside one room (or area) in your workplace or department where employees can go to just unwind.
  • Furnish it with a comfortable chair, some magazines, a puzzle or two, soft music, use your imagination.

That’s our full list of 37 questions about performance and motivation that every great supervisor, manager, and leader should test themselves on. How did you do in answering the questions? Do you have any of your own that you can ask and answer? If you want more help on becoming a better leader, check out our e-learning products including our featured Supervisory Skills for First Time Leaders.

Originally published on Merge Speaks

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