How can you motivate others?

In three words: Strengths based management.

What are your strengths? This post should help you.

Here’s how it works. People naturally tend to want their autonomy, to want self-direction in their tasks, and to want to use their areas of greatest strength at work. This is based on surveys of over 2 million people done by Gallup in their book, “Now, Discover Your Strengths.”

Instead of trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, and trying to MAKE someone do a job they’re not suited for, why not take some time with your current and future employees and sit down and figure out where people are strong and where they can excel?

Why not give them that feeling of joy coming to work? Each person’s talents are enduring and unique. And each person’s greatest potential for growth is in their areas of strength. So help your employees grow! Strengths based assessments are available online from Gallup, you do have to buy their book, but it will be worth it in the productivity increase you see. And you have to buy the book new, because each book has a number in it that gives you a one-time login to their strengths test. You can see some of the basic keywords for each strength in my previous post.

If you want to help your direct reports figure out their areas of greatest strength, and learn which things you can do to really motivate them, it’s worth the investment. Here are some ways to manage different types of strengths at work.

Managing Achievers
You can ask them to do extra work. They like to be busy. Don’t ask them to go to boring meetings. Help them measure what they get done. Work alongside them. Slackers annoy them. Give them recognition, show that you admire how hard they’re working, then give them a new goal.

Managing Activators
This person loves to ACT! Get this person to identify what needs to be done, and then to start a project. Assign them to a team that is bogged down, and this person will stir them to action. Listen when they complain, as they can see where things need to be improved right now. Don’t ask this person to wait for weeks of approval processes. Let them get things done quickly.

Managing Adapters
Great team member because this person loves to respond to new situations. If plans go awry, they will adjust and respond to what’s going on. No sulking, just redirection. Doesn’t really want to talk about the future or plan. Just wants to respond to things here and now. Most productive on short term assignments.

Managing Analyticals
Lay out the logic of the decision very clearly. Recognize and praise this person’s reasoning ability. When defending a decision, show the supporting numbers. And try to be exact and well researched. This person loves to discover patterns in data. Take their point of view seriously, because they have thought it out. Sometimes this person may be more interested in getting the job done well than getting it done on time. So check up on this person when a deadline is looming.

Managing Arrangers
This person thrives on responsibility. Let them choose the project team members, and give them complex, multifaceted assignments. They love figuring out how to be resourceful. They build good teams through trust and relationships, and won’t work with someone who they think does a less than excellent job.

Managing Believers
Tie back the project into this person’s values. This person is strongly connected to their family and community, and when you appreciate and honor that, they respect you for that. You also need to be able to tie back what they are doing in their job and how it is helping the community.

Managing Commanders
This person needs to be given room to lead. And when you need to get things moving, ask this person to take charge. If this person starts empire building, upsetting colleagues, ignoring commitments, meet them head on, confront with specific examples, and demand immediate restitution. Then arrange for them to be productive as quickly as possible. However, if this person becomes aggressive or confrontational, ask yourself if you couldn’t find someone else to lead.

Managing Communicators
This person finds it easy to carry on conversations, so bring them to social gatherings to entertain customers or prospects. Ask them to help people in your organization make more engaging presentations. Ask this person to learn the stories in your organization, and bring your org culture to life. Take time to hear about this person’s life and experiences. They will enjoy telling, and you will enjoy listening.

Tune in tomorrow for more ways to bring out the best in people!

Try to do one on one assessments of people you work with, and reward them in certain ways that seem consistent with their strengths. Do you notice an increase in productivity or a lift in mood?

Follow Wild Woman Fundraising on Twitter! Because you want to motivate people faster!

Stay tuned for the next post on August 9th, when we’ll be talking about the next set of people you might manage at work. Finally, we’ll finish the series on August 12th, when we’ll have gone through all 34 types that Buckingham and Clifton outline in their book, Now, Discover Your Strengths. If you’d like to take their official test to see where you stand, you have to buy their book new.

If you’d like even more resources on nonprofit leadership, check out my comprehensive page here!