Mike Lehr is a speaker and author who teaches business leaders how to use intuition to achieve the desired behavior influencing and problem solving results.
“If you are a leader, look in the mirror. Everything you need to motivate employees without spending money is in that mirror. Everything. The only question is how much do believe that? Too often, you leave what is in that mirror at home . . . our personalities.”
As an example Lehr reveals that employees love to interact with senior people at work. “At one orientation, new employees took an executive by surprise. They wanted a picture with him.”
Lehr explains, “Your personality, don’t leave home without it.”
- It’s critical to a change management plan.
- It’s critical to implementing change.
- It’s critical to overcoming resistance to change.
Lehr goes on to explain that there should be no surprise how to motivate employees without spending money. It hinges on adapting a new trend in 2015 of developing meaningful interactions with your people.
“You begin by remembering employees’ names.” With practice and prep, you can recall up to five hundred names. You use them too. In conversations, you say their names at least twice. There is a reason why journalism teaches using plenty of names in articles. Even pets respond favorably to their names.
“You shake their hands.” You do it just to say hello. Employees should not go more than three to six months without a senior leader shaking their hands. When a doctor touches a patient, the patient’s perception of the time spent with the doctor doubles. Shaking hands says they have value.
“You thank employees even if it is just for doing their jobs.” You should not let any employee go more than three to six months without senior leader thanking them for their efforts. If they do something you request, follow up and thank them. The manager who follows up has more influence with workers whom she does not manage than the manager who doesn’t follow up with workers they do manage.
“You hold small, group meetings to update your people.” Groups of five to fifteen work best. Your remarks should be short. Keep them to three to five minutes. Encourage questions. When the first one comes, you thank the person for getting things started. At first, it might take several meetings before questions arise. This is a test. It is a test to see if you are serious. If none arise, promptly end the meeting. It is a test to see if the meeting is really about them or about us.
“When you want something done, you ask.” You do not order. You do not tell. You devalue them when you do. You increase their resistance. People naturally resist being told what to do. You connect their help to the business. You show how they help the business by doing this. You use “I” and “you,” not “you” and “they.”
“You are visible and accessible to our people.” In real estate, it is all about location, location, location. The same holds true for motivating employees. You interact. You keep it short. “I just wanted to touch base and see how things are going,” is an example of what you can say. You listen. You show how their points connect with business plans. You show how they are helping. You ask about family. You ask about vacations. You ask how you can help.
“You employ active listening techniques.” If you do not have training on these, you sign up now. No matter how you will listen, it does not count if employees do not believe you are. You ask questions. You encourage them to tell us more. You tell them you understand how they feel. You summarize what they told you.
“You compliment employees.” “Good job,” is a good start. You can do better though. You are specific about why the job was a good one. You compliment a skill or talent they have. You show how that helped the business. You plan your compliments. “If I have the opportunity to compliment this employee on something to encourage their development, what would it be?” is a question you ask yourself about each employee.
“When you talk about other employees, you speak about them.” If you do not, they will tend to think, “I wonder what bad things he says to others about me?” You focus on how others have helped us. It shows you recognize and appreciate good work. It shows you will speak well about others too.
“You allow and invite venting.” When employees work on the edge of their skills and talents, tension is natural. When you do not allow venting, it is similar to not allowing athletes to sweat. You do not need to feel as though you must solve every problem. Many times, all you need to do is listen. If you do not know how to manage conflict well, you learn.
“You lead in the present.” That means handling employees’ requests now rather than setting an appointment. It shows their value. You lose energy when you defer. This is similar to the “teachable moment” in school. It also saves time.
“Finally, your focus is people.” You avoid using money words. They encourage lying and cheating. You avoid talking about rules. They encourage employees to play safe, to not change. You use people and time words. They encourage teamwork and good actions. You show how change relates to co-workers, customers, them and the business itself. You show how plans give everyone more time. You talk about guidelines. They promote change and good decisions.
Most of all, you will take pleasure in knowing only a few know how to motivate without spending a cent. Fewer still, do it. This pleases us because what gives these ways their power is that few do this. It makes the rest of us stand out as stars against the dark night. To compensate they will spend much money on incentives, training, systems, reporting and reorganizations.
Meanwhile, you will become trendsetters and motivate without spending money. You will look in that mirror and see one of the few, not the many.
About Mike Lehr
Mike Lehr is the founder and President of Omega Z Advisors. He specializes in the practical application of situational leadership in the areas of influence and problem solving.