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Getting The Team Motivation Right

written byBrenda Abdilla, CPCon 31/07/2012

Psychological experts tell us that we cannot motivate others – that real and lasting motivation must come from within and be anchored to something meaningful to the individual. That makes perfect sense. But most managers, if they are being honest, will agree that they don’t really need people to make deep and profound changes. They just need people on their team to be a little more responsive and care a little bit more about their results. Right? Right.

Now, how to accomplish that? Here is a shortcut to getting better results with your team: Ask them better questions.
We are all guilty of falling into a comfortable routine with the people in our lives, and the teams we manage are no exception. But changing the questions you ask our team-and then listening intently to the answers-could have a dramatic effect on the results.

Take time to come up with questions that are focused on activity and strategy instead of results. Sure, you need to know where your team stands in relation to the goal and end results, and sure, your forecasting report is due in ten minutes. But asking the usual close-ended, results-focused questions leaves no room for the dialogue that can open the door for teachable moments or management coaching, allowing both of you the opportunity to learn something.

The “where are we numbers-wise?” question gets you the number you need for your report and then the conversation is over, leaving your team feeling like the only thing you care about is the number. Next time, try something like, “Let’s talk about the New Jersey territory, as I want to hear your thoughts on where it fits in your overall plan.” Chances are you will get your results answer, plus so much more. Be sure to practice your best listening skills because you might hear something that surprises you. Remember, the point here is to open a dialogue so you can do what you do best-manage and lead.

Coaching Assignment:

Come up with three open-ended, activity-related questions to ask your team.

Write them down so that you can use them at the next opportunity. (Parents-this works great for kids too!)