Motivating a diverse team of individuals is perhaps the toughest responsibility for a leader, especially in this climate of uncertainty and fear.
Unsuccessful leaders assume their team should fit in with the leader’s communication style, vision, wishes and demands rather than looking at what motivates each individual to excel rather than just show up at work each day.
An otherwise strong leader recently informed me that: “I’m not going to treat everyone on my staff differently. That’s too exhausting. They’ll measure up to my expectations or they’re out.”
If you’re not speaking in a language that your people understand, or in the terms that will motivate them, it doesn’t matter what expectations you have. They won’t get it.
A tool I’ve found useful in understanding what motivates your team is the ‘Enneagram’, an ancient personality identification tool gaining popularity in businesses and corporations across the board due to its simplicity.
The Enneagram will help you understand ‘who’ your people are and ‘what’ motivates them. It has nine personality ‘types’.
Several books make the interpretation complicated so I recommend The Enneagram Made Easy by Renee Baron & Elizabeth Wagele. In a quick couple of hours, you can learn what motivates each member of your team to a higher level of performance.
Clients who have worked with the Enneagram have found it to be a simple, fun, and richer, more personal form of motivation. Here are a few examples of how Enneagram types, categorized by numbers ‘one’ through ‘nine’ are motivated:
A ‘One’ is a perfectionist, motivated by their excellence being valued. An error is unthinkable, even painful. Acknowledge their achievements; encourage them to lighten up.
A ‘Two’ is a helper, motivated by their efforts being appreciated. They are easy to overlook as they are always focused on your needs, yet validation is key.
A ‘Three’ is an achiever, get out of their way. Details, meetings and negativity are de-motivators. Give immediate feedback that in no way looks as if you are judging them.
A ‘Four’ is the romantic or individualist with a strong need to be different from the rest. Recognition of their uniqueness and special gifts is a strong motivator.
A ‘Five’ is an observer, motivated by the need to understand everything. They need time to process information and require direction in a straightforward, unemotional, and brief manner.
A ‘Six’ is a questioner, motivated by feeling secure. Fear can paralyze a ‘six.’ They conquer fear and build confidence through new experiences, with a nudge from you.
A ‘Seven’ is an adventurer, motivated by fun and grand visions. They bore easily and crave diversity, freedom, stimulating conversation, laughter, and projects that make a difference.
An ‘Eight’ is the asserter, strong and self assured. They are motivated individuals who are strong, honest, trustworthy, nonjudgmental and who don’t take things personally.
A ‘Nine’ is a peacemaker, motivated by keeping the peace at all costs. Be patient, speak in gentle tones and terms, ask questions to help with their indecisiveness; and avoid confrontation.
Highly successful leaders have a passion to continually elevate themselves and those around them. The Enneagram provides valuable information to do just that. It’s an intriguing tool to add to your ever growing tool chest.
Please feel free to contact me for referrals to the best websites and classes to deepen your understanding of this superb leadership tool.
Ann Golden Eglé, MCC, President of Golden Visions & Associates, LLC, has coached executives, leaders, high profile individuals and up-and-coming professionals to greater levels of success since 1998. She can be reached at www.GVAsuccess.com or 541-385-8887. Subscribe to Ann’s weekly ‘Success Thoughts’ e-zine on her website.