Thursday, June 9, 2016

How To Motivate Your Team: People are not machines

Unspoken Words: People are not machines: People are not machines   When I want my computer to do a function, I type in the command and then press enter. Sometimes, instead of ...

Monday, June 6, 2016

People are not machines

People are not machines

 When I want my computer to do a function, I type in the command and then press enter. Sometimes, instead of the computer executing what I asked it to do, I get a spinning wheel. As I start to investigate why the hold up, I see that Microsoft Word is stuck. I see that there is a security program running in the background. I see that Safari is loading a flash player. The computer is starting to run an update. It's not the computers fault. The computer is having to manage many other functions. Some programs are keeping the computer stuck.

This is the same way when we deal with people in our organization. We have a meeting with our team and we share our plan. We give clear directives, and we end the meeting with "let's get to work."A couple days later, we find that people aren't necessarily working the way we want them to.  For some reason, the team is not moving forward in unity, in purpose.  Why not? How could this be?? As the leader, we took the time to send out a clear e-mail.  We had the staff meeting and explained the plan in detail.  We even asked the team at the end of the meeting “are there any questions.” I mean…we gave them an opportunity to speak up… and no one did.  That must mean that everyone understands the plan and is ready to work.   Right??

Once you have led people to work together toward a goal or a project, you soon experience this challenge - that..


They do not just snap to and follow orders immediately with enthusiasm.  They rarely simply buy in to the assignment you dictate with no questions, no ideas.  People are less like a computer where you press enter; they are more like trying to herd cats.

Yet, people are so much better than any machine or computer.  People have so much more to offer than even the best Apple Machine out on the market today.  While a powerful Apple computer can execute multiple tasks at lightning speed, it cannot bring passion, commitment, problem solving, and initiative like a person can.  An Apple computer cannot grow and expand it’s knowledge like a person can.  A machine cannot build relationship with people and influence others to join their cause.  

Though working with a team of people is challenging, learning to lead them effectively is really worth it.  Dont give up.

Here are a few principles I have learned to motivate people on my team to work enthusiastically toward the goal:

You must build an authentic relationship with each person.  You must earn trust and respect.  You must demonstrate real love and concern for each person as an INDIVIDUAL.  People are not just “on your team.”  They are an INDIVIDUAL with unique personalities, dreams, gifts, backgrounds.  If you acknowledge WHO THEY ARE, you show them honor.  Make a point every couple of weeks to invest in to the relationships of those who work on your team - one on one, individually.  Create meaningful moments of listening, expressing, honoring.  Everything of value is built from a foundation of relationship.

Buy In
People tend to support what they help to create.  Memorize this phrase and internalize it.  It will change the way you present tasks and goals to your team.  Todd Mullins, my Pastor at Christ Fellowship Church in South Florida says that he will bring his ideas to the team “half-baked.”  While he already knows where he wants to lead the team, he intentionally introduces the idea not fully formed.  He starts the conversation with questions, activating people’s minds.  He asks for ideas and input.  Pastor Todd then masterfully guides the conversation toward action steps, empowering the team in the room to own pieces of it.  Another great principle Todd lives by is “Great Leaders make room for other Leaders to Lead.”  In every task, in every project, Todd does not just take all of the leadership.  He shapes the project so that many great people can take part in contributing their gifts, their unique shape to the project.  The end result is that the project is bigger, more colorful and the success is more expanded.  Why? Because the Leader planned the extra steps to include his team in the project where they felt part of the creative process on the front end.

Even if you do the first two principles of 1. Coaching and 2. Buy in, people may still get stuck, like the spinning wheel on your computer.  Because people are flawed and temperamental, they can often struggle in accomplishing their work.  Their ability to overcome obstacles or challenges is limited to their emotional capacity and their skill level.  People need encouragement, motivation, and guidance.  As a Leader, you must understand that to motivate your team toward the goal, you must personalize the goal for each individual.  Tom Mullins, Founding Pastor of Christ Fellowship Church formerly was a successful Football Coach and would always say “No one wants a Boss, but everyone wants a Coach.” While a Coach needs to be firm and demanding at times, a team member can take pushing and challenging from a Coach because they know the Coach wants the best FOR THEM.  Team members understand instinctively that their Boss primarily is interested in getting the job done.  Coaches focus on performance of the team.  Bosses focus on performance of the tasks.  If the team is performing well, the tasks will eventually get accomplished.

The key to getting your team to accomplish the goals, to own the responsibility of the tasks is PATIENCE.  Spend time building relationships with your INDIVIDUALS, create buy in by making room for your team to create and lead, and coach your team to be their personal best.  I promise you will see enthusiasm in your people that will produce momentum toward your shared goal and tasks!