Good managers can motivate others. But great managers teach people how to self-motivate!
Motivation is not constant. It comes and it goes. It's like the ocean's tide. It rolls in, and it rolls back out. High motivation is like a big wave because it only happens under the right conditions. But what do big waves do? They crash on shore, and then the tide rolls back out. Motivation happens the very same way.
Think of yourself as a surfing instructor who can teach people how to make the best out of their positive emotional waves. Sometimes they're going to catch really good waves and you want to help them ride that wave for all it's worth! But when the wave crashes, you have to help them paddle back out and get positioned for the next big motivational wave.
It’s a simple approach!
- When they're riding a big motivational wave, encourage them to tackle the more difficult tasks. That’s how they can ride the wave for all it’s worth!
- When the wave crashes, encourage them to tackle less difficult tasks. That’s how they get positioned for their next motivational wave.
The key is to make good use out of whatever motivation they have in that moment.
This motivational technique is based on a model introduced by B. J. Fogg, a behavioral scientist at Stanford University. He explains how behavior, is based on three factors - motivation, ability, and a prompt.
Leaders that can adjust their “prompts” to their employee’s motivational state, get more productivity than those that don’t!
The less difficult tasks take less of the employee’s ability, while still allowing them to be productive. And the more productive an employee feels, the sooner they can catch their next motivational wave.
This is a simple way to motivate others, but it’s a good way to self-motivate, too!
Many of your employees work independently. They have their own to-do lists, and can choose when to tackle their tougher tasks, so most of their prompts, come from within.
Self-motivation is just an internal prompt that leverages whatever motivation you have in that moment.
Remember, motivation ebbs and flows. But productivity is motivating!
And you don’t need to be motivated to be productive. You just need to align your prompts with your motivation, and make the best use of your abilities in that moment.