If you don’t get to know the people you are trying to motivate, you won’t motivate them. It is that simple. You can’t apply motivational techniques as if they are a recipe for cooking stew. Besides, even when you cook stew, you often deviate from the recipe.
You need to get at the heart of who each person is when motivating them. People are different, and you need to consider those differences. Some people are driven using high energy techniques whereas others like a laid-back and subtle approach.
To learn about others, you need to learn more about what they are like on a personal level. If you have been avoiding participation in after work activities, you may want to start. This doesn’t mean you need to do it every time. Your employees need to have time away from the boss on occasion. However, you do want to get to know your workers in a more relaxed and social environment.
It’s not likely that your workers will open up completely when you are attending a social event with them. They will still have their guards up. You are the boss after all, and this makes trying to learn about them more challenging. However, as you continue to interact with them outside of the work setting, they will naturally open up more.
If you negatively use information about your employees, it is going to backfire on you. If your workers confide in you and then you turn it against them, you can forget about getting them to open up to you. News will quickly spread that you are not to be trusted. Therefore, you need to be careful what you do with this information. Sometimes, you will have no choice but to use the information against them.
However, don’t take that decision lightly.
Motivating others is about formulating a plan that aligns their needs with yours. When you learn what others are about, you can customize each plan accordingly. Discussing these plans with your coworkers is okay. In fact, it’s great to get their feedback as part of the process. It affects them so they should know.
You can change plans when you find out about new information or circumstances. Be willing to make those changes, especially if they are in the best interests of your workers. Listen to what they say and offer to adjust the plans if it makes sense to do so. They will appreciate you, and you'll find motivating them will take care of itself.