There are three keys to motivation that you can practice with all the people who report to you. They are Recognition, Rewards, and Reinforcement. Practice all three of them with as many people as possible, as often as you can.
Most people are starved for recognition, especially recognition that comes from the important people in their lives. In fact, the more important you are in the eyes of another person, the more powerful and influential are your statements to that per- son. As a manager or leader, you are in a wonderful position to have an incredible impact on the people who report to you.
Praise and recognize people for little accomplishments as well as large accomplishments. Find reasons to compliment them for their work or their achievements. Smile when you see them, and treat them with respect and esteem. Recognition is a powerful motivator for people at all ages and in all situations.
Rewards are a vital part of motivating people to peak performance. The primary reward that people want is more money. In study after study, employees repeat, over and over, that what they really want for excellent performance is financial rewards. People also like awards, prizes, trips, plaques, and trophies. But most of all, people want more money.
It is often better to give small cash prizes for outstanding performance rather than salary increases. The first is fixed and limited while the other one goes on indefinitely. But continually look for ways to reward people for doing an excellent job. Remember the greatest management principle in the world articulated by Michael LeBoeuf, “What gets rewarded gets done.”
The third key to motivation is reinforcement. “What gets reinforced gets repeated.” Whenever you talk about, praise, and comment on a particular behavior, the individual will be more likely to repeat that behavior in the future. The flipside of motivation is that if you do not recognize, reward, and reinforce a particular behavior, the individual may simply stop doing it.
If a person who is habitually late to work starts making an effort to come in on time, you should praise and recognize her punctuality each time it occurs until it becomes a new habit. When people come to meetings on time, you should thank them and praise them for being punctual.
Look for every opportunity to give recognition, rewards, and reinforcement for the behaviors that you want to see repeated by that individual and by other people in the company.