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Creating motivated teams

After a difficult year, and in the absence of traditional seasonal team celebrations, how do you continue to engage and motivate your team to get off to the best possible start in 2021?

This is the question we posed to Steve Jones - business coach, public speaker, author, consultant and co-chair of the Government’s Engagement Task Force – for our December Lunch & Learn event.

Steve first explored with participants the important distinctions and interplay between skills, personality and motivation in a business setting. While many will be familiar with personality profiling, this is no longer sufficient if you are to create a high-performance team.

Understanding and acting on motivations, rather than personalities, has far greater significance than ever before. Many young people embarking on their careers consider their personal motivations first and then set about finding company cultures that match these, in preference to skills-based job searches. Motivations are equally important to those well established in their careers: Bill Gates was cited as a great example of a tech leader whose personality hasn’t changed but his motivations have altered completely over time.

So, what does motivate people to work?

Essentially there are nine reasons that people get out of bed to work and these can be summarised into three categories: relationship-based, achievement-based and growth-based motivators.

It doesn’t matter if you are a Defender, Friend, Star, Director, Builder, Expert, Creator, Spirit or Searcher, each motivational type brings value to the workplace. Steve described these in turn before going onto stress the different support, coaching and reward strategies that should be applied in each case. He gave workshop participants specific and practical ways to set about creating an environment in which all team members can thrive in the context of their roles and their businesses. Understanding and enhancing motivation in this way also mitigates the risk of team conflict and losing valuable talent to competitors.

There’s a further benefit to this motivation-based approach too: it gives business leaders an opportunity to discover who is missing from their teams so that recruitment strategies can be more focused. “Once you start understanding motivations,” he said, “it is possible to find the right people to drive a business forward, especially in challenging situations like we’ve faced this year.”

Finally, Steve illustrated the diagnostic tools, motivational mapping and 90-day action plans that he uses with his Skills for Business clients. His continuous approach to engaging with teams has proven to make a real difference to people and to productivity over time. As highlighted by the Bill Gates example, personal motivations do change and when it does, as a manager, you need to be able to spot these changes and adapt your approach accordingly, he commented.

Closing the event, Jane Holt, Science Park Business Development Director, thanked Steve and all participants for attending. She said: “This has been a hugely valuable session because I’m sure that many business leaders are considering how to keep their teams focused, productive and driven right now, regardless of whether it’s been a successful or a challenging year for them. Judging by the response to today’s workshop, it is clear that the majority of people want to know what motivates them and others, and are keen to understand how to get more of this in their lives, both at home and at work.”

Find out more about Steve Jones’ work at www.skillsforbusinesstraining.co.uk

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