Keep an eye on the people you lead and catch them doing something well. Many people (including parents, teachers, coaches – even our friends) only comment on people’s mistakes. A few years ago I did a survey of all the employees at a chain of restaurants and discovered that the number one thing people want from their job (more than money) is acknowledgment for a job well done. Sometimes a pat on the back will motivate people a lot more than a kick in the pants. Two-thirds of our country has low self-esteem, so people are obviously starving for positive feedback.
Make a point of complimenting people and making them feel good. Catch them in the act of doing something well. You might be the only person that day who said something nice to them. (Remember how good it felt in elementary school when your teacher put stickers on your homework when you did a good job?) This will reinforce their talents and good behaviors. Be sure your compliment is sincere. If people feel you are not being honest or just “kissing up,” they’ll quickly dismiss your comment and may even feel worse.
Doing this will quickly win people’s loyalty. The best leaders are able to motivate others and help them perform at their best level. This happens when they feel good about themselves. Take the time to help them feel this way and you will see amazing results.
To learn more about influencing others, check out the article Influencing People: Winning People’s Respect or the Jump Start Leadership Workbooks.
To read more motivation, check the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.