Manage Anyone: Motivation and
Communication to Get the Job Done
By Mimi Donaldson
means getting results through people. We do this in many different
settings from workplace to household. If you are alive, you have
already been a manager. You’ve managed delivery people, repair
people, pets, children, in-laws, spouses and more.
myth is that you need to throw money at people to motivate hard work
and loyalty. Not entirely true. Management has less to do with
charisma than with consistency. Managers depend on effective
interpersonal communication skills to get things done.
of you are called “boss.” To avoid “boss” becoming another
four-letter word, follow these four steps to empower
1: Tell the person clearly what you except them to do.
Easier said than done. In management training
environments, this is called “delegation." My definition of
“delegate” is to empower and motivate a person to accomplish
results for which you are ultimately responsible. Delegation includes
these guidelines: choose a person capable of doing the job; explain
the result you want; give the authority to get it done; monitor the
activity; give recognition or praise along the way.
climate. Be sure you’re in a place conducive to concentration at
a time when the person can concentrate. Listen to your words as
you set the tone. Over the years, I’ve heard many a harried
manager unwittingly say, “Now this is a simple, mindless task
… that’s why I’m giving it to you." Not very
big picture. Describe the overall objectives. People need to see
where their part fits into the whole to feel part of the loftier
steps of the task. This is the meat of the delegation discussion.
Sometimes these are already printed in an instruction or
procedures manual. You still need to go over these steps, however
briefly, with the capable person to assure yourself of the
person’s understanding. If the steps are not already written
out, have the person take notes as you speak. This increases
resources available: Point out where there are other references,
if any, on the task. Resources include people who have done the
task or parts of it before.
questions. Even if it feels as if you don’t have time to do
this, it’s worth it. Better to spend the time up front than be
unhappily surprised later. Invite questions with open-ended
prompting such as, “What questions do you have?” not “You
don’t have any questions, do you?”
person to summarize what they will do to get the job done. This
takes some courage on your part; you risk being answered with a
defensive “Do you think I’m stupid?" I use this sentence:
“Call me compulsive — I need to have you summarize how you
will get this done." When you take responsibility, you reduce
defensiveness in the other person.
Agree on a
date for follow-up. How soon will depend on the complexity and
value of task. You may need time and practice to develop the fine
art of follow-up without hovering.
Give them a reason to do the task. This is the fine art of
motivating. Motivating people is impossible … they have to motivate
themselves. There must be something in it for them.
when you were in third grade, sitting at a little desk in class,
listening to the teacher. He or she was droning on and on, boring you
to sleep. Suddenly, an obnoxious kid in the back row yelled out,
“Hey, teacher, is this gonna be on the test?" You were so
embarrassed to hear someone actually ask that question. But you
listened very carefully to the answer. If the answer was “no,”
your reaction was probably to relax — it’s not on the test. But if
the teacher said, “yes,” you straightened up, borrowed a pencil,
started taking notes — it’s on the test. Ever since then, we have
done only what we perceive is on our test.
motivate people, you’ve got to find out what’s on their individual
test. Then put your priority squarely on their test.
Give the person the tools and resources they need to do the job. This
requirement can range from a desk and pencils to on-the-job training
and enough time to get it done. This is the
“put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is” step. Teamwork among
individuals of varied backgrounds, experience and human interactive
skills does not just magically happen. If managers want people to be
productive and happy, they must put time and effort into training
themselves and their people in technical skills and communication
Give feedback. All people, when accomplishing a task, want to
know how they’re doing. Even your “stars.” There
are two types of feedback: positive and corrective. Here are four tips
succinct, specific and sincere.
praise only; don’t use it as an introduction to another
why their accomplishment is important to you and others.
surprised if the person is embarrassed or suspicious. This may
mean they’re not accustomed to praise and need more of it.
attack the person. Attack the problem, whether it’s job
performance such as inaccuracy, or a work habit such as lateness.
It’s a problem-solving mode you are seeking.
prepared to tell the consequences if the problem continues — and
be prepared to carry them out.
surprised if the person reacts with hostility. Even if you’re
being calm and objective, some people tend to take this discussion
takes practice and, quite often, some training and acquiring of new
skills to carry out these four steps to managing. But stick with it;
managing people and empowering them to accomplish things, makes a
difference in their lives … and yours.
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