The Key to Productivity and Innovation
by Justin Tyme
What's the difference between enthusiasm and gasoline? Maybe, there's not much difference between the two. They both provide the power to drive us forward. The internal combustion engine of our automobile runs on gasoline. Gasoline vapor enters the cylinder and the spark plug ignites the fumes unleashing the power that can propel our vehicles over one hundred miles an hour.
Enthusiasm in the workplace, properly ignited, can propel your business into success. Motivated employees work harder. They'll even come with ideas to improve the product or service. Motivated and enthusiastic employees are the best kind of employees to have.
Enthusiasm is rare, however. Most employees want to do a good job, but they feel under appreciated. Generally, bad management is blamed for unmotivated workers, but often, good management can still provide unenthusiastic workers. So, what's the secret?
If your own employees aren't acting motivated or aren't acting enthusiastic, then it's time to get your own "act" in gear. You can fire up your workforce in three acts: Act enthusiastic. Act grateful. Act happy.
Psychologists tell us that the best way to change our feelings about what we're doing is to change the way we think of our feelings. The brain tells the body how to feel and the body acts accordingly. We can direct our own feelings and our outlook on life. Writing in Out of Work? Get Into Business!, small business expert and author Don Doman writes about expectations and how that can change the outcome of future events.
"If you are working on a proposal for a client, imagine that client as ecstatic about your proposal. What does the client like about it? Why does he or she like it? How will you handle your successful presentation? Visualize all of the positive aspects of your presentation. Then work on your successful proposal."
In Don's example, he says that we should see events as being successful. We then act accordingly as we work towards that success. If we tell ourselves that we are going to be successful, we begin to believe it. We can see it. We can feel it. We can plan for it. Those expectations drive us forward with enthusiastic zeal. It's the same with our employees. We need to see them as successful and they need to see that managers see them as successful. Successful workers are motivated and enthusiastic about their jobs.
"Drive your horse with oats, not with a whip."
-- Jewish proverb
Here are six ways we can fire up unmotivated and under enthusiastic workers:
THE TIME IS NOW
When you see someone doing a good job, the time to tell them about it is right then. Don't wait for tomorrow or next week. Who knows? You might forget about it. If you tell someone they are doing a good job, they won't forget about it.
LET YOUR FEELINGS SHOW
Don't be an old stone face. Everyone has feelings. Show yours. If your workers are doing a great job, then shouldn't you be excited? Shouldn't you be proud? Let those emotions show on your face. Share your enthusiastic feelings. Your feelings will boost moral and encourage the same feeling among your workers.
GIVE A PAT ON THE BACK
An old friend and I were talking about our days as Jaycees. We both had boxes of trophies and plaques in our basements from over twenty years ago. The tangible evidence of achievement was stored away, but the feelings of being appreciated had stayed with us. Awards and accolades should always be given out in front of people. Everyone shares the appreciation that way. They applaud, they cheer, they laugh. . . and they in turn congratulate the recipient afterwards. Awards and accolades keep on giving. Recognition comes in a variety of guises. A pat on the back, a kind word, a certificate to hang on the wall, or a trophy to put on the mantel -- all build enthusiasm.
HERE'S THE BALL
Nothing builds enthusiasm like trust. When you give someone a task to accomplish it shows that you believe in them. If you believe in them, can they believe any less? You don't even have to make encouraging statements. The task alone speaks volumes.
PULL OUT ALL THE STOPS
Think of new ways to show trust and enthusiasm. Send a postcard. Tell others about the great job being done by someone in your department. Drop names and achievements at meetings, in newsletters, in general conversation. Find ways to spread the word and encourage motivation, enthusiasm and appreciation for a job well done.
Restauranteur and author Bob Farrell knows that cheering employees on in an enthusiastic way, builds their enthusiasm. In his book Give 'em the Pickle Bob writes about using appreciation to help build enthusiasm and motivation.
" . . . being a cheerleader involves more than leading in cheers. Whenever I eat in one of our own restaurants I always try to go back to the kitchen and thank everyone for providing me with such a wonderful meal. I walk around the entire restaurant personally thanking every employee. I never eat in one of our places with my family as though I had been elected king of the hill. The people who work in our restaurants aren't subservient to me. I know I couldn't succeed without them, but they could without me. And I never want them to forget how much I appreciate them."
As you start encouraging others in a quest to build enthusiasm, you'll also notice a change in yourself. You will become more enthusiastic and more motivated. Your clients, co-workers, and even your family will notice the difference. Life is fun. Business is exciting. Work is something to be motivated about. Filled with enthusiasm your business engine should be hitting on all cylinders.
Reprinted with permission from: