How to Motivate Anybody – and it’s Free!

Good leaders know how to motivate anybody. Whether you manage Rotarians, high-paid employees, or minimum wagers, they are all motivated by the same things.
Picture of Chris Waugh

Chris Waugh

District Governor Nominee and Owner of Leader Support Service, providing business consulting and leadership development.

Good leaders know how to motivate anybody. Whether you manage Rotarians, high-paid employees, or minimum wagers, they are all motivated by the same things. It’s easier to get cooperation from people if you know what motivates them. And – surprise! – it doesn’t cost money.

Whether it’s your friend or adversary, parent or child, or boss or employee, your skill at motivating other people will reduce friction and give wings to your success. Of course, everyone is different in specific likes and wants, but there are three motivators that are universal.

My friends at the NOVA Group conducted a study on employee morale. They asked some five thousand managers to rank ten criteria by the ability of each to motivate employees. Then they asked as many employees to rank those same criteria by what indeed motivated them.

The managers thought that good wages, job security, and promotion/growth potential were the top motivators. The employees, though, ranked their top three as interesting work, appreciation for work done, and feeling in on things. Because employers thought their employees were focused on material things, they overlooked emotional aspects entirely.

Luckily, you don’t need a budget to provide these motivators. You just need a little effort and imagination. They work for friends and family as well. Here’s how to motivate anybody, and it’s free.

  • Match people’s interest to the projects you ask them to take on, and show your interest in their work. Interest trumps experience for motivation. And, don’t assume their interest is always in line with their experience – they might be interested in trying something new.
  • Appreciate people for the role they play and the work they do. Appreciate their efforts, even when the results don’t pan out. And appreciation is not a one-size-fits-all proposition – individuals need to be appreciated differently.
  • Show people how they fit into the bigger picture, and keep them up on your progress. Don’t assume that they don’t care – they do. Let them know the challenges you face as a leader and ask for their advice.

Everyone responds to interest, appreciation, and association. Provide it. That’s how to motivate anybody. And it doesn’t impact your budget. You haven’t peaked yet!

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