Back in my teaching days, I was able to get the most out of my students. I wasn’t some sort of teaching genius; I just knew the right tips and techniques to get teenagers to actually listen to me.
I still use these techniques today whenever I need to get the best out of other people of all ages, whether it’s at work, with kids, or helping someone’s social life.
So, these tips will apply to various types of people in almost every situation. Why? It’s because human nature is pretty straightforward. So, without further delay, here we explain how to motivate people.
Offer Them Freedom
Very few people prefer to live under constant micromanagement. In fact, recent studies have shown that micromanagement actually holds people back from their peak potential. It also leads to burn out and disengagement (the opposite of motivated).
I know of a company that suffered from a micromanaging boss. In the last six years that institution lost three fourths of its staff in one way or another. Obviously, that isn’t a good thing. The failure has to be laid at the feet of the company, not the employees.
So, if you want to motivate people, start by offering them some freedom. Obviously with children and employees you’ll have to supervise. But, do it in a way that allows them to express their opinions and have enough flexibility and freedom to succeed (and fail). If people feel invested in an activity they will shine. If they don’t or are always looking over their shoulder you won’t get their best work.
Bring Out Their Inner Passion
A lot of people are unmotivated because they have no passion for their lives. In many cases, they would stop being lazy if they found a way to be personally invested in an activity. For example, when I taught, I tried to connect my dry, boring topic (religion) to the lives of my students. If they played an instrument I invited them to play at worship services. If they liked sports, I allowed them to integrate it into their class projects. And, so on.
The same method can work for you if you need to motivate other people. Try to connect what you need them to do to a passion of theirs. Then, they will feel completely engaged in your project and you’ll have no trouble getting their best work from them.
Get In the Trenches
When I was in high school, the worst part of football practice was conditioning. It wouldn’t have been so bad if we weren’t exhausted from two hours of practicing. And, watching our overweight coaches stand there telling us what to do didn’t help. However, one coach actually ran with us.
He wasn’t a star athlete or in great shape, but he brought up the rear of the line, encouraging the heavier and slower players. They were really motivated by him. I, although not one of the ones he ran with, greatly admired and respected him. I didn’t feel the same way about the other coaches.
If you need to know how to motivate people, this will go a long way. Don’t just order others around; get down and do it with them! Work with your unmotivated child. Do the dirty work with a lazy employee, etc. Let people see that you aren’t “too good” to do what you’re motivating others to do!
When we try to motivate others, we typically are excited about the activity. A manager at McDonald’s probably gets a lot more out of work than his employees. He certainly makes a lot more. So, have empathy with the people you want to motivate. Even if you’re excited about a topic, don’t assume the other person is. Try to empathize with him or her. You may have been great at school; maybe your son isn’t. While you can motivate him and keep him accountable, at least try to see his struggles from his perspective. The same goes for other situations. Develop empathy and see life from the point of view of the person you’re trying to motivate.
While there are many methods, I hope these four are helpful. Now you should at least have a general idea of how to motivate people.