Creating a Motivating Work Environment

I read an article by a professor named David Burkus. He was providing a guide on how leaders get great performance and create an environment for a motivated and productive work force.

So, let me ask you a few questions:

  1. Do you understand what is expected of you? Do you know what you need to accomplish and how you will be evaluated? Burkus says that in a motivated work environment, expectations are very clear. The customer is known.
  2. Do you get regular feedback on how you are doing? Burkus says that in a motivated work environment, people get regular feedback on if they are satisfying expectations. In other words, if you are falling short, the leadership provides quick feedback, training and assistance in getting back on track. If you are meeting or exceeding expectations, you also receive feedback in the manner of positive feedback and “attaboys.”
  3. When correction is needed, does it happen privately and with dignity? It is the leadership imperative to offer correction when needed. When correction is offered, it needs to be offered in a way that is constructive. The most dignified approach takes on a teaching and coaching approach. It is done in a way that saves the corrected from embarrassment.
  4. Do you believe that we trust and believe in you? Do we give you room to figure out solutions? Do we listen when you have suggestions? Do we let you try new things? Do you have control of elements that affect you? The more trust exists in the work place, the more engaging the work environment is. Everyone wants to be viewed as competent. Leadership can rob teammates of that feeling when there is a lack of trust.
  5. Are you praised openly and often? It comes down to this. If one is falling short, they should expect constant, dignified feedback designed to get him on course. If he is meeting and exceeding expectations, he should be receiving regular thanks, more encouragement and additional challenging assignments. If leadership is silent, apathy develops.

As I wrote this, I was thinking about folks who report to me. What would they say?

As you read this, I hope you are thinking about how you are led and how you lead.

If you came to work not highly motivated today, what is it that you need? These questions are a pretty good way to help identify the symptoms.

If you came to work today and you led a team that wasn’t particularly engaged, you have a way to assess your team, the environment that exists and what leadership can do to begin to change it.