Boosting Your Team’s Motivation Through Meaningful Connections featured image

Boosting Your Team’s Motivation Through Meaningful Connections

By: Meggan Flaherty

~ 4 minute read

49% of employees are looking for a new role, according to Gallup’s Indicator on Retention and Attraction research. The number is staggering and serves as a critical indicator of the current employee landscape. One of the top reasons why people are looking for new opportunities is so that they can be at their best. The majority of employees want to do well and experience success in their job. This is where managers can play a critical role in retention. Let’s face it, who doesn’t want to work for a leader who “gets” them? I got lucky early in my career to have a manager who would end up being one of the best managers. 

Why? What I was unaware of at the time was that she figured out what fuel I needed to be motivated. She provided me with the space to learn along with the autonomy to do the work. She presented me with new challenges to sink my teeth into as I mastered the role. She gave me a seat at the table when there were decisions being made that would impact my goals. The result: I went from having no experience in a new industry to being a top producer on the team. 

Meaningful Motivation 

What if all managers had the capability to figure out what ignites employees not just to meet but exceed company goals? The good news is people show up wanting to do their best work. The challenge is that you cannot apply the same motivational strategy for everyone – you need a human-centered approach. 

If you’re a manager, you’re probably thinking, “I’d love to figure out how to motivate my team, but I just don’t have the time or the energy to figure out what each team member needs.” I get it. Managers, especially middle managers, are under increasing pressure and may even be questioning whether or not they made the right decision in taking on a leadership role. The great thing is that connecting with team members and their motivating needs doesn’t have to drain your leadership tank. Plus, don’t you want to be remembered for having a positive impact on people?

Understanding Motivating Needs

Let’s dive right in and dissect the different motivating needs of your team. Not everyone is wired the same way, and recognizing these differences can transform your leadership style. With the Predictive Index Behavioral Assessment, you can quickly identify how to motivate your team to be their best. If you don’t have access to the assessment here are some ideas on how you can adjust to tap into what motivates people:

Goals: The Big Picture vs. What, Why, How

Some folks thrive when they see the big picture. They want to know where the ship is headed. Others crave the details – the what, why, and how of every endeavor. Recognize these differences and communicate accordingly.

Autonomy: Let Them Go vs. Offer Support

Autonomy varies from person to person. Some team members can take a direction and run with it, while others need to know that you will have their back along the way, especially in situations when there is an unknown risk or challenge. Understand these distinctions to empower your team effectively. 

Career Growth: Trust in Strengths

Leaders often fixate on addressing weaknesses, but there’s another path to success. By building trust around strengths and encouraging team members to lean into what they do best, you can foster incredible growth. For instance, you may have a team member who is fantastic at being innovative and analytical, if so, you can provide them opportunities to figure out how to get better results. Or if you have a team member who is great at pulling the team together for collaboration, you can give them opportunities to lead a team or a project. Once you know the team member’s strengths, you can start seeing how you can connect them to work that is aligned with where they are naturally going to be a top-performer and watch them excel.

Listening and Communication: Stay Present

Are you listening to provide solutions just to move the conversation along? Or are you listening and staying present? When an employee asks questions, they are seeking the clarity that will give them the rocket fuel they need to move forward. Other folks need a thought partner to brainstorm or to validate their thinking verbally. In either case, it’s important to stay present so that people feel heard. If you are not sure what the person needs, ask them, “Do you want me to listen or help you solve the problem?”

In Conclusion

Failing to take the time to understand what motivates people means that leaders will not be able to address employee retention or increase engagement. Imagine what you can accomplish with your team when you create a workplace where motivation thrives, and team members feel valued. When you also use the Predictive Index framework as a guide, you will have team members’ motivational needs at your fingertips. You will find that you’ll be able to connect with your employees even more quickly. 

Your Next Step

In the end, leadership is about taking a human-centered approach. Commit to starting to focus on one of these strategies to incorporate into your leadership style. Be purposeful and carve out time to understand the unique needs of your team members. And if you want to experience the Predictive Index framework for yourself to understand your motivation needs and how to become the leader your team needs, take the survey here and speak to one of MindWire’s experts.

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Meggan Flaherty

Combines a strategic vision with a personal touch in talent strategy. Known as the "white water rafting guide," she's an outdoor lover, mountain biker, and trail runner, dedicated to developing human-focused, data-driven talent strategies.