By Jay Bransford
Money can be a powerful motivator. The pursuit of money and power can influence people to do all kinds of things – both good and bad. The good news is that as Christians we hopefully come to realize that our monthly paychecks really come from God. Whether we work a traditional job, volunteer, are retired, or serve in full-time missions, it is God who makes a way to provide for all of our needs. The other good news is that for most people money is actually not as strong of a motivator as you might think.
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.”
– Hebrews 10:24
There are many things in life that act as motivators for people. As leaders, it is important that we understand what influences and motivates our staff. We can’t simply bark out orders and expect people to follow them. Motivating others is a skill we can develop. Sometimes it is good to start with yourself, in order to get a better idea of what motivates you. Although everyone is unique, we often have a lot in common when it comes to the general kinds of things that motivate us. As I reflect on my work life, I can definitely see some common factors that have influenced me to do my best. But let me start with just one simple example – my first ever real job. For three years in high school I worked as a pizza cook on the weekends. You may be asking yourself, “Can you really learn about what motivates you by looking at such a simple example?” Read on and see! You can learn a lot about what motivates your staff just by asking them a few easy questions. For simplicity sake, let’s just ask one question here…
As you consider a job that you enjoyed and performed well at, tell me what you most enjoyed about the job?
As a pizza cook at an Italian restaurant, below are some of the things that I enjoyed most. Note: I have bolded a common principle of motivating others before each point.
- Challenge People and Give Them Responsibility: The better I performed at the restaurant, the more responsibility I was given. I loved that challenge. I started as a dishwasher and quickly moved up to being able to work in every role in the restaurant.
- Ensure a Good Role Fit: I was allowed to work in the area of the restaurant that I most enjoyed and excelled at, which was making pizzas.
- Use Rewards and Recognition: I appreciated being given positive feedback and being recognized as the “Employee of the Month” for my hard work and dependability.
- Trust People: I was proud to be trusted to both open the restaurant and close it down at the end of the night.
- Provide a Fun Environment: We had a lot of fun goofing off, eating ‘mistake’ pizzas, and listening to music when the restaurant was quiet.
- Ask for People’s Ideas and Input – and Listen: I was allowed to find ways to prepare the food faster and with higher quality which I found very personally rewarding.
In addition, one of the greatest motivators for most people is the opportunity they are given to dedicate their time and effort to an important cause. This means that the more time you spend communicating and reminding people about the overall vision and purpose of your ministry, as well as each person’s ongoing impact towards that purpose, the more motivated your staff will feel. As a teenager, I must have felt that delivering delicious pizza to people was a very important cause, because I took that job very seriously! Just think how much more motivated a person would be if the ‘important cause’ they were a part of was Kingdom focused!
What do you think motivates your staff? If you’re not sure, try asking them!
- Ask them about their past work experiences.
- What did they enjoy about each job and why?
- What did they NOT enjoy and why?
- What made them excited to come to work each day and do their best?
- What de-motivated them to do their best?
You might be surprised at what you learn about people when you ask these simple questions. You’ll probably find that you don’t need money to motivate them. Instead, you’ll likely discover some simple, and yet powerful things you can do to maximize the joy, excitement, and effectiveness of everyone on your team. Be motivated to motivate!
For more information on how to motivate others, see: http://allc.asia/skills/motivating-and-mobilizing/