Creating a motivational culture

Creating an environment where people are willing to try new things, to challenge the status quo and to make a difference is the hallmark of strong, growing companies. A motivational environment is vital if a business is to be successful and grow in the long term. It’s the attitude of ‘don’t rock the boat’ that forces businesses to eventually fall by the wayside or be swallowed up by a more aggressive company that’s wanting growth.

IHere are 10 tips to help you build a positive, supportive company culture.

1. Ask people their opinion. Don’t force yours upon them.  

2. If people want solutions, then get them to come up with options, don’t tell them how to resolve the situation. Then openly and frankly discuss their ideas and how to put them into practice. 

3.  When employees voice their opinion, give them positive feedback (not just negative!). Then reinforce their behaviour, encouraging innovation and their ideas: these ideas should be the lifeblood of the company. And, be supportive!

4. Ask questions, even when you don't know the answers. Ask employees challenging questions that encourage them to think, plan and react. Remember, you’ve provided a safe, positive environment where not knowing all the answers is just fine. You want your staff to challenge themselves, after all.

5. Encourage considered risk taking, and support your employees when they do. If it all goes wrong, accept that this is part making things go right, and work with employees to work out what when wrong, why, and what to do about it. Don’t look for a scapegoat, but rather, ask ‘what can we learn from this?’

6. Walk around. You’ve heard before about the MBWA, right? (Management By Walking Around). Not only does it give you the chance to interact with your employees and get to see them doing their daily tasks, it also gives them the opportunity to chat informally with you and for you to learn about their lives and work challenges.

7. Be honest. Honesty in a leader builds trust and confidence, and your staff will be more likely to work harder, ask more effective questions and give you respect. It also means that employees will more easily accept criticism, both positive and negative, because they trust you and your opinions.

8. Encourage a learning environment. Knowledge comes with experience, but it also challenges mindsets, and increases staff job satisfaction, motivation and productivity. Empowering your staff, encouraging them to learn and adding to their skills are all part of helping others to think ‘outside the box’, to see things differently and to be creative.

9. Stick-to-it-ness is the hallmark of a leader. Side stepping goals just because obstacles come up or no one can work out what the answer to a problem might be, is counterproductive. As a leader you need to persevere and continue in your pursuit of your goals despite barriers and criticisms; encourage the same attitude in others.  

10. Share your success. A positive outcome is very rarely the result of one person. A self-confident leader shares the accolades with everyone who contributed to the final outcome. 

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