These are five ways an exceptional managers motivates his/her staff:
1. They take responsibility for the store’s success and failure. Exceptional managers always have a “the buck starts and stops here” mentality. They never blame weather, competitors, unaligned stars, or anything else if they fall short of goal. They may acknowledge that outside elements contributed to their shortfall but they’re the first to say they didn’t get it done. Taking personal responsibility is empowering and motivating because the whole team knows they have the power within themselves to turn things around.
Exceptional managers also take personal responsibility for their success. This might seem egocentric but it’s not. Leaders lead. They either lead their team to success or to failure. Obviously these exceptional managers/leaders share their success with their entire team, but they know it’s important that they claim the success. I believe that many owners and managers don’t like to claim success because they don’t want to have to claim failure as well. It’s a two-way street, so take the power and claim it!
2. They don’t over-praise. Years ago a manager who worked for me so over-praised her staff that it actually de-motivated them. It not only de-motivated them, they begged me during a store visit to do something about it. After observing her, I had to agree that her praise was a bit too much. If you happened to walk from one side of the store to the other without tripping she’d praise you. I know she was just trying to motivate her team, but it had the opposite effect.
3. They only give authentic praise. Exceptional managers know that the most motivating praise is authentic and from the heart. Authentic praise is extremely personal. You wouldn’t praise most of your employees for getting to work on time, but you might praise someone who has been struggling to do so. Employees know when a manager is just being nice and when he/she actually means something. Exceptional managers know that trivializing praise takes away from the praise that really matters.
4. They make working at the store fun and enjoyable. I’ve heard plenty of people say, “They call it work for a reason.” Well, if those same people looked it up, they’d read “work” defined as, “exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something.” It doesn’t say that work = drudgery. As a matter of fact, another definition for work is “productive activity.” Most people are more productive when they’re happy and enjoying what they are doing. Contests, about which I’ve written many times, help make work fun but what’s more important is to keep the store reasonably stress-free.
5. They motivate the staff every day. What worked yesterday to motivate may or may not work today. Exceptional managers motivate their teams every day so the staff is motivated for the week, month, and year. Think of the Zig Ziglar quote, “Some people say motivation doesn’t stick. Well, neither does a shower and that’s why we advise you to take one everyday.” This is even more important through the busy and sometimes stressful holiday.
So let me ask, how exceptional is your ability to motivate your team?