Many managers, business owners, and executives are trying to figure out how they can keep employees and contractors motivated to work for the company they own or manage. There are many motivational techniques and methods, but unfortunately, most of them are outdated, outmoded, and no longer work as well as they did when they were invented. And they get the good advice these days that the solution is simple: become an idol and be able to remain an idol. There are good training courses for this. But how to achieve and maintain this “work for me with all your might” state? Because many people do! Some people don’t need to think about motivational methods because it just works the way they want it to. And sometimes even better than that. If you ask these managers, they are reluctant to comment on some issues, because there are “motivational elements” that are not appropriate to talk about. But almost all successful managers agree that one of the key points in creating a motivated employee and contractor environment is “un-blackmailability”!
Your problem, not mine
But how exactly does a smart manager behave in a situation where results are down? There are two good solutions that can be seen in business development projects. The really good solution is when the manager is not at all dependent on her team. I mean financially and in terms of career in any way. When there is no hold on her because she has already proven herself and has already built up her financial background. In other words, she is motivated by success and has no interest in getting more money, power, or a new step up in her job. She works and manages her team and company because she loves her job, believes in what she does, and is troubled by failure in her belief system. The smart manager makes it clear, subtly — sometimes not so subtly, since the level of performance depends on the performance of the team — that she has it all. And the team’s performance has no effect on her. But that’s not enough for real motivation! The team also needs to know that their future is at stake. In this case, we are “on a different horse”. They don’t have to work for the manager, but for themselves, and they need the manager’s help and expertise, because she has already built up her own background and has a recipe for how things should work. In this case, the suggestions made by the manager really do have serious content for the audience and are listened to.
As owners, we have a harder job when we are in trouble, but if we manage our company smartly, it is much easier to get the “work for yourself, for your future” theory across. After all, it is easier to believe that an owner really has everything he or she wants. Moreover, the authentic owners of authentic companies have indeed had almost everything, sometimes even more than they ever dreamed of. When they reach this position, almost all of them report that there is no stopping the company from growing, even though they no longer know if they want to grow. Employees are easier to work with, more motivated, new colleagues with a much higher skill level are easier to reach, and partners say yes orders of magnitude more easily. Yet these business owners perceive themselves as working less, caring less about their business, and often wonder why things are better. The answer is simple: the “need” factor has gone, the “I need it” factor has gone, and everyone around them feels it. Of course, on the one hand, this obviously gives people a much more stable and relaxed environment. There is much more of a focus on “enjoying life”, and this attitude is also contagious for the people who work for the company. They no longer just talk about achieving a work-life balance; they offer it on a plate. In fact, such business owners often demand that their employees and contractors take care of their private lives, as they see that this is the key to everything. And, of course, these companies grow non-stop, because extra-motivated colleagues are extra-motivated for the business owner, which is extra-motivating for the business environment. Is this too idealistic? Maybe! But it has been around for a long time in the labour market. At first, startups were open to this, but the opportunity to play ping-pong at work was not enough after a while. A lot has been said since the arrival of the pandemic that people want happiness and that jobs are no longer just about salary. It’s a huge challenge for more and more companies that the traditional “work for your money and we’ll pay you” approach no longer works.
There is a huge battle in the labour market for truly valuable workers. In this battle, companies with idols have a significant advantage over the rest of the market. What makes someone an idol varies from period to period, from era to era. What is certain is that it is a very important element of business today that the people who work for them not only look up to them as professionals, but are fully aware that their manager is “doing great, thank you very much” and that the success of the company and the firm is primarily the team members’ burden. In other words, everyone must be aware that their leader is incorruptible!