Motivating the Unmotivated
By Francie Dalton
you're frustrated in your efforts to elicit the best from each of
your subordinates, chances are it's not that they can't be
motivated, but that the wrong methods are being used to motivate
secret is to package what you want from each individual in a way
that makes them want to deliver for you. There are 7 classic work
styles, each of which is motivated differently: Commanders, who
need control; Drifters, who need flexibility; Attackers who need
respect; Pleasers who need to be liked; Performers, who need
recognition; Avoiders who need security; and Analyticals, who need
certainty. Now here's how to use this knowledge to better motivate
Commanders: Results oriented, aloof, bossy and not terribly
tactful, Commanders need to be in a position to take initiative.
Delegate substantive assignments to them, and employ a hands-off
management style. Articulate the desired result, and then stand
aside and let them figure out the "how to's". To motivate the
Commander, link what you want them to do to how doing so will
improve order, control, or results. Most importantly, understand
that the Commander wants to be valued and validated for their
ability to overcome obstacles, to implement, and to achieve results.
Drifters: Free spirited and easy going, disorganized and
impulsive, Drifters are virtually antithetical to Commanders. They
have difficulty with structure of any kind, whether it relates to
rules, work hours, details or deadlines. To motivate the Drifter,
delegate only short assignments, and ensure assignments have lots of
variety. Provide as much flexibility as possible, including what
they work on, where they work, with whom they work, and the work
schedule itself. Drifters want to be valued and validated for their
innovation and creativity, their ability to improvise on a moment's
notice, and their out-of-the-box thinking.
Attackers: Angry and hostile, cynical and grouchy, Attackers
are often the most demoralizing influence in the workplace. They
can be critical of others in public, and often communicate using
demeaning, condescending tones or biting sarcasm. Attackers view
themselves as superior to others, conveying contempt and disgust for
others. Granted, these folks aren't exactly the most loveable of
employees, but you do need to be able to motivate them effectively.
Start by identifying what they're really good at, and then put them
in positions of using or imparting that knowledge in ways that don't
require much actual interaction with others. Value and validate the
Attacker for their ability to take on the ugly, unpopular
assignments no one else wants to touch, and for their ability to
work for long periods of time in isolation.
Pleasers: Thoughtful, pleasant and helpful, Pleasers are easy
to get along with. They view their work associates as extended
family members, and have a high need for socialization at work.
Unable to handle conflict, Pleasers can't say "no" to the requests
of others, developing instant migraines or stomach problems to
escape having to deal with negativity. Motivating Pleasers is
pretty simple and direct - just let them know how doing whatever it
is you ask will make you happy. The more difficult thing is to
manage their tendency to subordinate what's best for the company to
the maintenance of relationships. To manage this, you'll need to
continually stress the concept of the "greater good". Value and
validate Pleasers for the way they humanize the workplace, and for
their helpful, collaborative work style.
Performers: Witty and charming, jovial and entertaining,
Performers are often the most favorite personality in the
workplace. They're the first to volunteer in public venues, and the
last to deliver on their promises. Performers can also be
self-promoting hustlers who use others as stepping-stones on their
path to stardom. They'll also avoid accountability for any negative
outcomes by distorting the truth and blaming others. Motivating the
Performer requires that you link recognition and other incentives,
such as high-profile assignments, to improved teamsmanship. Value
and validate your Performer for their ability to establish new
relationships, and for their persuasive and public speaking skills.
Avoiders: Quiet and reserved, Avoiders are the wallflowers of
the world. They create warm, cozy nest-like environments and prefer
to work alone. They fear taking initiative, and shun increased
responsibility because of the attendant visibility and
accountability. They'll do precisely what they're told - no more,
it's true, but no less either. Avoiders will sacrifice money,
position, growth and new opportunities for the safety of status
Motivating the Avoider requires that you always provide detailed
instructions, in which the Avoider will find safety, and don't
expect to be successful in pushing this fear-based individual toward
increased responsibility. Value and validate your Avoider for their
reliability, for their meticulous attention to your instructions,
and for getting the job done right the first time, every time.
Analyticals: Cautious, precise and diligent, Analyticals are
the personification of procrastination. This sometimes
incapacitates them in times of urgency. Their ability to multi-task
mentally results in poor eye contact and flat intonation, they
scrutinize the ideas of others, and anticipate all that could go
wrong, which creates an inaccurate impression that they're negative.
They're ill at ease socially and prefer that all communications be
written or electronic - not in person. Motivating the Analytical
requires that you give them time to complete each task before
assigning another, and that you demonstrate and articulate respect
for data and for the analytical function. Value and validate your
Analytical for their commitment to accuracy, and for their ability
to anticipate and evaluate risk far enough in advance to allow risks
to be reduced.
"one-size-fits-all cookie cutter approach to motivating others won't
work. Instead, you must customize your methods to each individual
you manage. Doing so will allow you to access the discretionary
energy of staff - that which they aren't required to do, but could
do if use these tips to make them want to.
Read other articles and learn more
about Francie Dalton.
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