Tips for Influencing and Motivating Staff

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. The same holds true for influencing and motivating the staff of your small business. You can’t strong arm or punish employees into being productive, innovative, and dedicated workers. Rattling off your expansive resume and boasting about what an amazing entrepreneur you are won’t get you very far either. Instead, you need to find creative ways to influence and motivate your staff. Trick them into taking pride in their work and honoring your expertise in the field. If you’re not sure where to start or are getting resistance from your staff, check out these tips for influencing and motivating employees using positivity. <--break- />


Be Honest and Human

Without honesty, there’s no trust. And without trust, you won’t be influencing anyone to do anything. Some people automatically view business owners or superiors as sneaky and dishonest. Employees might think that their boss is only in it for themselves and that they don’t really care about “the little people” at the bottom of the totem pole. The best way to bridge this gap is by being open and honest with your employees. Don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes. Let them see that you’re just like them in a lot of ways. Once your staff can relate to you, they’re much more apt to listen to what you have to say and heed your advice. Being vulnerable is one of the first steps in influencing your staff to succeed and better themselves.


Show, Don’t Tell

Talk is cheap and actions speak louder than words. Don’t get up on your soapbox and tell your staff to get pumped up and crush those sales goals. Try showing them different ways of how it’s done. This actually ties back into the previous point. By rolling up your sleeves and getting into the trenches with your employees, they will instantly respect you more. They’ll feel like you actually care about them, their interests, and needs. It also gives you valuable insight into what your staff deals with on a daily basis. Listing the reasons why they should do something will likely fall on deaf ears. Instead, show your employees the benefit of adopting that new software or implementing a new POS system. This way, if you get resistance, you can better understand and handle their apprehension.


Identify a Purpose

People don’t want to work without a purpose. You need to give your staff a good reason for following your directives and working toward your vision. Perhaps giving your staff a little back story of how the business came to be or what your motivation was and is today, will help them embody the purpose of your company. You also need to give them a reason for doing so. What’s in it for them, so to speak? Does increased sales mean a raise in the future? If your staff works on commission, then bringing increased traffic into the establishment means more opportunities for making money. Giving your staff some incentive for their hard work is a great way to influence not only their behavior but their attitude.


Create a Mission Statement

You don’t need to have a long list of influencing skills in your toolbelt in order to motivate your staff but creating a mission statement for your business is a great place to start. Mission statements are usually short, concise explanations of what your business is about, as well as its values and focus. An employee should be able to read a business mission statement and immediately know if this is the type of company they want to work for. Do they share the same values, ideas, and passion? Creating a mission statement is another way to help staff stay focused on the type of service or product you offer and the quality you expect. Employees may even go as far as to use the company mission statement as daily motivation.


Keep Open Lines of Communication

This is an important element in any type of relationship from a romantic one to a friendship and yes, the employer employee relationship. Influencing your staff to perform at their best ability is about showing mutual respect and listening to their concerns. You should adopt an open door policy when it comes to staff. Let them know that you’re available to discuss their questions and concerns, especially in terms of how the business is run. How can they be influenced to improve if you’re not available for them to bounce ideas off of or troubleshoot their issues? Influencing staff is a lot about letting them know you understand their struggles and working together to find a solution.


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