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3 ways managers can motivate staff

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When you hear the word ‘motivators’ what comes to mind? Many people may answer ‘money’, ‘success’ or ‘happiness’. While these are great reasons for self-determination, as a manager there are other ways to motivate your staff. Relatedness, Autonomy, and Competence are part of an alternate model for motivation for managers to use to engage and inspire staff in the workplace. 

Relatedness – The need to feel that we belong


Relatedness is the feeling that we have regular contact with people who care about us.

How managers can use relatedness
Make working and learning social events. Consider asking two or more people to share a project.

Find ways to help your team enjoy working together. Provide opportunities to socialise in breaks and after work.

If you are providing individual coaching or mentoring, your relationship is a useful part of the motivation. Clearly, making a special effort to be supportive will be more effective than treating each encounter like an examination or a briefing.

Be approachable and available.

Autonomy – The need to be independent


The feeling that we have choices and control over our own actions. Workers with autonomy report more satisfaction with their jobs, fewer sick days and better physical and mental health.

How managers can use autonomy

Hire people you trust and trust them.

Avoid any hint of micro-management such as telling experienced employees how to do the work, making decisions for them or constantly checking on their commitment and progress.

Allow your team to make decisions on behalf of clients or customers (you may need to provide training and a limited budget).

Make team members responsible for a clearly-defined role with a sense of mission. Consider asking them to write a mission statement.

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Competence – The need to be effective


The feeling that we are capable.

How managers can use competence 
Find ways to develop employees skills and recognise their achievements. Use digital learning platforms and upskilling training. Employees not having the opportunity to learn is a major cause of staff turnover.

Develop your own leadership skills.

Help employees develop a learning plan and mentor them through it.

Putting these three universal motivators to the test will help managers keep staff engaged, motivated and determined.

70 Ways to Thrive at Work

For more information on how to inspire staff to do their best in the workplace, check out our eBook 70 Ways to Thrive at Work.

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