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Motivation should be an internal personal drive not an external expectation

2 years ago | Lesley Calland


People are responsible for motivating themselves. It should be an internal drive not an external expectation.

HOWEVER, it is your responsibility to provide a stimulating working environment and a focused supportive culture where your managers feel respected, valued and able to take responsibility for their own performance and promotional opportunities. 

Through our research, we are pleased to find that more Owner Managers and Directors of thriving SME’s are wanting to reward loyalty with internal promotion, they are wanting to build a team of key people around them to spread the decision making and are wanting to help those with real potential to grow at the pace the business needs.

…but taking your managers to a whole new level takes so much more than a new job title, or different perks or a bigger team to manage.

They need clarity, they need security, they need reassurance and commitment from you that they fit into your long term plans. And, as they go up the ladder, they need to know what good leadership looks like to you, so that they can be it.

Working within an SME can be quite insular. Many of the managers we come across seem to have no real measure as to how they are doing. They only seem to know ‘what normally happens around here’.

They may be technically good at what they do, but that doesn’t automatically make them a good manager or leader. Once promoted you expect them to suddenly lead well with consistency, when you may not necessarily do that yourself.

So when that’s the case how do they learn and who do they learn from?

Developing as a leader means developing new behaviours.

By opening a manager’s eyes as to what goes on in other organisations by listening to the experiences of other people with similar challenges, gives them perspective. It gives them insights as to what they could do differently and it gives them a real understanding of how to identify what good leadership looks like. Once exposed to these insights, new ways of doing things usually emerge as it gives them a benchmark.

As a clearer picture forms, as to how they want to improve, behaviours change. Attitude to responsibility changes too. Results improve and a sense of achievement begins to emerge. When all these things are in play, managers naturally become more motivated themselves. 

But meanwhile what if it’s you, their leader, that needs motivated? Simple ways of changing your behaviours, can quite easily help you become the role model that your managers yearn.

  • Schedule real time out to talk with your team, as a group or as individuals. Putting this in your diary usually makes it happen and makes them feel important.
  • Really listen to what your managers have to say and make sense of what they need from you now.
  • Seek to understand their concerns, their ideas, their opinions and change some of the things that may be holding them back unnecessarily.
  • Work with them to find solutions to challenges so that you innovate together using your combined knowledge, experience and skills. This gives you a joined up reason for wanting things to work out.
  • Find out what their hopes and aspirations are, at home and at work, to ensure their role, responsibilities, reward or future opportunities match their ambition.
  • Reflect on how caring and supportive you really are. It doesn’t take much to make someone feel valued.
  • Establish a clear way forward together to bring a truer sense of purpose to everyday activities.
  • Recognise how you can be a better role model, so that they know how to be.

And if you know you are not equipped to coach, train and mentor your managers in the way they need, seek help from those who are qualified to do just that…pointing your managers in the right direction is not easy, but trusting experts to help them in a confidential setting is one of the best fixes you could ever reward them with. Investing in your managers to give them a more fulfilling future, means that you are investing in a more satisfying future for yourself too.

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