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Motivation: Creating the Conditions for Outstanding Performance

When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.
— (Eleanor Roosevelt)

Kind words can be short and easy to speak,
but their echoes are truly endless.
— (Mother Teresa)

The drive to behave in a particular way comes from within. Because this is well understood, many leaders of professionals believe that they can have little impact on the motivation of their team members. In fact, good leaders have a major influence on the extent to which their people work with enthusiasm and seek to achieve excellent results. They can play a significant part in improving the motivational climate and in removing obstacles to individual motivation.

There are three useful things that you can do. The starting point is the team leader’s own motivation, energy and enthusiasm for achieving results. The example that comes from a strong and focused drive has a positive effect on the motivation of others. Secondly, there are a number of useful leadership skills that, if deployed frequently, can lead to better motivation. Some of these work well with professionals, and others are probably more useful for support people. Some are relevant to both. They are not difficult skills to use. Whether there is the willingness to use them is another matter. Thirdly, it is evident that most of us have preferences for working in particular ways and for tackling some tasks rather than others. Allowing for flexibility in working methods, as long as service quality and output are not hindered, helps to maintain a high level of motivation. Matching assignments to passions fosters a good motivational climate.