Motivation of employees must be a continual effort. In the course of a month or a year, if the organization is successful, employees succeed in a number of tasks. It is important for leaders to acknowledge these successes in a variety of ways.
I have written many of my stories about my younger brother, Jack, who is an archaeologist. Jack usually supervises one major project a year along with several smaller projects. He is a demanding boss. He also role models what he expects of others by working very hard himself. He expects no more from others than he expects from himself.
Over the past six years, Jack has worked repeatedly on a location called the Big Eddy Site. The site was so named because the Sac River took a 90-degree angle turn at the site creating a huge eddy in the river.
At the end of the first year at the site, a significant find occurred. Eleven thousand-year-old artifacts (Clovis) were found directly below 10 thousand-year-old artifacts (Dalton) in undisturbed strata. This find was unprecedented in the Midwest United States. To celebrate this discovery, the excavation team with Jack's support decided to design a T-shirt to commemorate the occasion. Several drawings were proposed and the team voted on the most appropriate one.
The Big Eddy T-shirts of 1997 created a sort of tradition, which continued for the following three consecutive seasons and resulted in a sense of solidarity. Each year the team designed a different T-shirt. The T-shirts publicized the success of the team and were purchased by others not on the team like me. The pride of the team and feelings of teamness grew each year.
The most valuable actions that leaders can take are those that enhance employee motivation. There is no limitation to the creativity of leaders to invent ways to recognize their team members and the team's accomplishments. Copy motivational tools of other leaders. Listen to suggestions of followers. But do something today to show your employees that you appreciate the many hours and hard work that they invest in the organization. The payback in employee commitment and motivation will be tremendous.
R. Glenn Ray, Ph.D., is the president of RayCom Learning. To learn more about Ray's completely revised, third printing of, "The Facilitative Leader: Behaviors that Enable Success," visit his Website, www.raycomlearning.com.