CEOs Discuss Their Ways to Motivate Employees

Joe Weinlick
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The passions that drive your employees are as diverse as your workforce. Knowing how to motivate employees is one critical element to accomplishing the company's goals, whether you have a short- or long-term project. Motivation goes a long to achieving success, but knowing what buttons to push with employees is an essential skill managers must master to get results.

Brent Gleeson, a motivational speaker and former Navy SEAL, wrote an article for Forbes explaining his simple strategy for motivating his SEAL team. The team's purpose was to kill the enemies of the United States. When he moved to civilian life as a business leader, Gleeson realized he needed to motivate employees in a diverse setting as opposed to embarking on a specific mission in which the goal was to kill people with precision. To get results, he used his own training and experiences to lead his team. However, he asked for the opinions of some fellow CEOs to find out what they do to get workers moving in the right direction.

Sean Azari of Breakthrough Social tries to motivate employees by giving them what they want. If a team member wants more money, he gives them higher compensation. If someone wants more family leave time, a flexible schedule or a telecommuting option, he meets those needs as well. Azari says business leaders should extract what they need from employees by giving them what they feel they deserve, but only if the worker earned the extra benefits.

Brandon Lewis of Lewis Revenue Group says that the first step to motivate employees is to understand them. Discover what drives employees and then develop a strategy based on what you find. Have everyone fill out a survey that asks very specific questions about motivation, and go from there. Surveys and feedback are one way to keep constant communication with team members. Motivations of employees may change over time, and that's why you have to make yourself available to listen to, communicate with and lend a sympathetic ear to workers.

Nick Shirk of says to motivate employees, managers must build accountability with each employee. When everyone takes responsibility for their actions, the team achieves its goals together. Shirk believes that meeting goals, both big and small, deserve a reward among all team members. Employees must know the rewards for meeting or exceeding goals before setting out on a project or mission.

Rob Boegheim of Hema Maps says he motivates people by respecting and loving everyone. Love and respect come from understanding your employees. Managers should realize that a person's profession is just one aspect of his life. Foster an understanding of people's personalities beyond what drives them at work to learn what makes them tick.

It may take a while to develop a way to motivate employees, especially if you have a large team with people from many different backgrounds. Remember that everyone has a distinct personality and that diversity is great for the workplace before you embark on the task of getting your team to step up.

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