Motivating Yourself in Order to Motivate Your Staff
By Linda Talley
With a new year ahead, you may be looking for ways to motivate your staff, which begins with motivating yourself.
If you are trying to motivate your staff, you have to begin with yourself! If you are the owner/manager/boss, the behavior begins with you. You are the model for the rest of the organization whether you have a storefront, service center or both.
Many bosses may look at their employees and say, "My staff is just not motivated." That may be true. However, it doesn't begin with them. Instead of blaming your staff, or even your predecessor, begin being the model for internal motivation and share your ideas with the rest of your staff. Not only will you become the leader, you will have followers. Business owners and managers today either acquire or hire staff. Leaders create followers by being the model for excellence in communication and relationships, and motivation is a key ingredient in both of these.
How do you begin to motivate yourself? Here are some ideas and suggestions:
- Wake up to a Zen alarm clock vs. the radio or clock alarm. What you first hear in the morning will set the tone for the rest of the day. When you wake up and listen to George Strait singing, "She done me wrong," the words may click in your mind and that could be a song you sing to yourself all day long. Or, you may turn on a 24-hour news station and be deluged with negative news and troublesome stories. With all the negativity you are being bombarded with, it may sink in and affect your outlook and attitude.
Suggestion: Limit your TV time to sports, educational programming or other shows that may be more neutral or may not foster the kind of negativity that news programs might.
- Read something inspirational in the morning.
Suggestion: Read or listen to inspirational books. Meditation is another way to begin the day (and end it, too), whether sitting, standing, walking or running. This is a great opportunity to clear your mind from the hassles of work and let inspirational thoughts come your way.
- Think of how you can be an advocate for your staff that day. How will you cheer and lead them? There is a sales manager in Minnesota who told me that every morning while she is taking a shower and then driving to her office, she is focusing on how to motivate her staff.
Suggestion: Be your staff's coach. A coach is an advocate, a cheerleader, a person who leads the way so that others may follow. Meet with staff members regularly to provide feedback, insight, direction, and perhaps a few "Atta-boys!" or "Atta-girls!"
- What can you do to take a risk and move out of your comfort zone today? If you want your staff to do it, it must begin with you.
Suggestion: Do something different. I am in the process of selling my house and buying a new one. I have had a lot of lookers but no offers. As I was talking to my agent about this, he said, "There are some obstacles we have to get around." In talking further, I discovered that whenever the buyer's agent gave him an objection from the buyer, he agreed that it was a problem and told me about it. So I decided to coach him. My agent told me he had always sold on price. I told him that now would be a good time to sell on value (which would let the buyer justify their decision with price). He said that would be new. He agreed to give it a try, and guess what? He sold my house by doing something different.
- Do you have a belief that mistakes are bad? If you berate yourself for making mistakes, what are you doing to your staff? Many business owners and managers are perfectionists and it may limit them personally and professionally. When you see that mistakes are an opportunity to learn and use them as a learning process for yourself as well as your staff, everyone benefits.
Suggestion: When a mistake is made, it must be handled immediately with feedback to the staff person who made the mistake. The feedback must not be denigrating but positioned as a learning process. You, as the coach, must ask staff members what happened and then ask them how they will change their behavior or communication to make sure it doesn't happen again. Then install consequences for repeat errors, if necessary. A manager of a stationery store tells me that he has a good staff but they continuously mess up orders so he has to go in and fix them, which creates an 80-hour workweek for himself. I asked him why he never gave his staff re-direction on these errors and he said it was just as easy to do it himself and he didn't have the time to train. What a mess! And the sad thing about this situation is that his staff is resentful of him because he's not letting them do their job.
- Focus on what you want. Dream big about what you want. There's nothing wrong with thinking big.
Suggestion: Become aware of when you are constantly thinking about what you don't want. You'd be surprised at how many people focus on that and then are surprised by the results. The best way to do this is to write down what you want - whether it's an objective or goal, on an index card or the back of your business card and then read it once an hour during the day or once in the morning or at night. When you give what you want this much focus, you'll get what you want.
- Develop an attitude of gratitude for everything you have in your life rather than focusing on what you don't have. Happiness springs from gratitude and not the other way around. Happiness is an inside job! No one else can give you your happiness - not the job, the paycheck, not your spouse or your kids. You and only you can make yourself happy! And, the way to begin that is with gratitude. What a wonderful gift to give to your staff when every one gets it!
Suggestion: When you first wake up in the morning, spend a minute or two to articulate what you are grateful for right then. Do the same at night just before you go to sleep. You might find that you sleep better, too! If things are really tough for you, spend time throughout the day coming from gratitude.
I have trained myself to come from gratitude in any situation. Just this morning, I ran out of ink for my printer and began calling around to various stores to see who carried it. One store I called put me on hold for 10 minutes before I finally hung up. When I put the phone down, I said out loud, "Those jerks, I'll never do business with them again!" Just then I caught myself and said, "Isn't that interesting that I am having a reaction to bad customer care. I am grateful for the opportunity to catch my reaction and learn from it." This afternoon, as I write this article, I am grateful again because from that earlier situation, I have a story to share with you about coming from gratitude.
Begin with these ideas, master them in your own life and then introduce them to your staff. Discussion of these ideas can be a regular part of your workflow or your weekly staff meeting agenda. Most people are not born to self-motivate. They might know how to survive and that will keep them alive. But when you show them how to motivate themselves, you give them skills they can carry with them throughout their life and impact their business or career in a positive way!
Editor's Note: This article is one of several management articles that will be contributed to AutoInc. this year by Automotive Management Institute (AMI) instructors. A full lineup of AMI instructors will be sharing their knowledge throughout the year on a variety of topics including training and equipping your staff, goal setting, cross promoting, increasing car count during slow times and much more. To learn more about AMI, its courses and instructors, visit www.AMIonline.org.
Linda Talley is a Houston-based executive coach, speaker and author of Business Finesse: Dealing With Sticky Situations in the Workplace for Managers and The Daily Win - Building Success One Step at a Time. Sign up for her free e-newsletter, Success, by e-mailing her at email@example.com or visit www.lindatalley.com.
AutoInc. Web Site |
ASA Web Site |
State Super Warranty Programs Continue to Advance |
State Legislative Objectives |
Federal Legislative Objectives |
Keeping an Eye on PSI: Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems |
Kaizen 'Lean' Principles |
In Search of a Perfect 10 |
Motivating Yourself in Order to Motivate Your Staff |
Guest Editorial |
Tech to Tech |
Tech Tips |
News Briefs |
Taking the Hill |
Around ASA |
Shop Profile |
Net Worth |
Stat Corner |