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How to motivate your team

How to motivate your team

Mind Tools

What do you think motivates your people to come to work each morning?

These assumptions about your team members can have a significant influence on how you manage them.

In the 1960s, social psychologist Douglas McGregor developed two contrasting theories that explained how managers’ beliefs about what motivates their people can affect their management style. He labelled these Theory X and Theory Y. These theories continue to be important even today.

This article will explore McGregor’s theory further, and we’ll look at how it applies in the workplace.

Understanding Theory X and Theory Y

Theory X and Theory Y were first explained by McGregor in his book, ‘The Human Side of Enterprise,’ and they refer to two styles of management – authoritarian (Theory X) and participative (Theory Y).

If you believe that your team members dislike their work and have little motivation, then, according to McGregor, you’ll likely use an authoritarian style of management. This approach is very “hands-on” and usually involves micromanaging people’s work to ensure that it gets done properly. McGregor called this Theory X.

On the other hand, if you believe that your people take pride in their work and see it as a challenge , then you’ll more likely adopt a participative management style. Managers who use this approach trust their people to take ownership of their work and do it effectively by themselves. McGregor called this Theory Y.

The approach that you take will have a significant impact on your ability to motivate your team members. So, it’s important to understand how your perceptions of what motivates them can shape your management style.

We’ll now take a more in-depth look at the two different theories, and discover how and when they can be useful in the workplace.

Theory X

Theory X managers tend to take a pessimistic view of their people, and assume that they are naturally unmotivated and dislike work. As a result, they think that team members need to be prompted, rewarded or punished constantly to make sure that they complete their tasks.

Work in organizations that are managed like this can be repetitive, and people are often motivated with a “carrot and stick” approach. Performance appraisals and remuneration are usually based on tangible results, such as sales figures or product output, and are used to control staff and “keep tabs” on them.

This style of management assumes that workers:

  • Dislike their work.
  • Avoid responsibility and need constant direction.
  • Have to be controlled, forced and threatened to deliver work.
  • Need to be supervised at every step.
  • Have no incentive to work or ambition, and therefore need to be enticed by rewards to achieve goals.

According to McGregor, organizations with a Theory X approach tend to have several tiers of managers and supervisors to oversee and direct workers. Authority is rarely delegated, and control remains firmly centralized. Managers are more authoritarian and actively intervene to get things done.

Although Theory X management has largely fallen out of fashion in recent times, big organizations may find that adopting it is unavoidable due to the sheer number of people that they employ and the tight deadlines that they have to meet.

Theory Y

Theory Y managers have an optimistic, positive opinion of their people, and they use a decentralized, participative management style. This encourages a more collaborative , trust-based relationship between managers and their team members.

People have greater responsibility, and managers encourage them to develop their skills and suggest improvements. Appraisals are regular but, unlike in Theory X organizations, they are used to encourage open communication rather than control staff.

Theory Y organizations also give employees frequent opportunities for promotion.

This style of management assumes that workers are:

  • Happy to work on their own initiative.
  • More involved in decision making.
  • Self-motivated to complete their tasks.
  • Enjoy taking ownership of their work.
  • Seek and accept responsibility, and need little direction.
  • View work as fulfilling and challenging.
  • Solve problems creatively and imaginatively.

Theory Y has become more popular among organizations. This reflects workers’ increasing desire for more meaningful careers that provide them with more than just money.

It’s also viewed by McGregor as superior to Theory X, which, he says, reduces workers to “cogs in a machine,” and likely demotivates people in the long term.

Theory X and Theory Y in the Workplace

Most managers will likely use a mixture of Theory X and Theory Y. You may, however, find that you naturally favor one over the other. You might, for instance, have a tendency to micromanage or, conversely, you may prefer to take a more hands-off approach.

Although both styles of management can motivate people, the success of each will largely depend on your team’s needs and wants and your organizational objectives.

You may use a Theory X style of management for new starters who will likely need a lot of guidance, or in a situation that requires you to take control such as a crisis.

But you wouldn’t use it when managing a team of experts, who are used to working under their own initiative, and need little direction. If you did, it would likely have a demotivating effect and may even damage your relationship with them.

However, both theories have their challenges. The restrictive nature of Theory X, for instance, could cause people to become demotivated and non-cooperative if your approach is too strict. This may lead to high staff turnover and could damage your reputation in the long term.

Conversely, if you adopt a Theory Y approach that gives people too much freedom, it may allow them to stray from their key objectives or lose focus. Less-motivated individuals may also take advantage of this more relaxed working environment by shirking their work.

If this happens, you may need to take back some control to ensure that everyone meets their team and organizational goals.

Circumstance can also affect your management style. Theory X, for instance, is generally more prevalent in larger organizations, or in teams where work can be repetitive and target-driven.

In these cases, people are unlikely to find reward or fulfillment in their work, so a “carrot and stick” approach will tend to be more successful in motivating them than a Theory Y approach.

In contrast, Theory Y tends to be favored by organizations that have a flatter structure, and where people at the lower levels are involved in decision making and have some responsibility.

6 Steps to Accomplishing Your Life Goals and Resolutions

6 Steps to Accomplishing Your Life Goals and Resolutions

Excerpted article was written by By Susan M. Heathfield

Chances are that to achieve your dreams and live a life you love, those goals and resolutions are crucial. Goal setting and goal achievement are easier if you follow these six steps for effective and successful goal settingand resolution accomplishment.

  • You need to deeply desire the goal or resolution. Napoleon Hill, in his landmark book, Think and Grow Richhad it right. “The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desires bring weak results, just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat.” So, your first step in goal setting and achieving your dreams is that you’ve got to really, really want to achieve the goal.
  • Visualize yourself achieving the goal. Lee Iacocca said, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.” What will your achievement feel like? How will your life unfold differently as a result? If the goal is a thing, some gurus of goal setting recommend that you keep a picture of the item where you see and are reminded of it every day. If you can’t picture yourself achieving the goal, chances are – you won’t.
  • Make a plan for the path you need to follow to accomplish the goal. Create action steps to follow. Identify a critical path. The critical path defines the key accomplishments along the way, the most important steps that must happen for the goal to become a reality.Stephen Covey said, “All things are created twice. There’s a mental or first creation and a physical or second creation of all things. You have to make sure that the blueprint, the first creation, is really what you want, that you’ve thought everything through. Then you put it into bricks and mortar. Each day you go to the construction shed and pull out the blueprint to get marching orders for the day. You begin with the end in mind.” He’s right.
  • Commit to achieving the goal by writing down the goal. Lee Iacocca said, “The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen.” I agree completely. Write down the plan, the action steps and the critical path. Somehow, writing down the goal, the plan, and a timeline sets events in motion that may not have happened otherwise.In my own life, it is as if I am making a deeper commitment to goal accomplishment. I can’t fool myself later. The written objective really was the goal.
  • Establish times for checking your progress in your calendar system, whatever it is: a day planner, a PDA, a PDA phone or a hand written list. If you’re not making progress or feel stymied, don’t let your optimism keep you from accomplishing your goals.No matter how positively you are thinking, you need to assess your lack of progress. Adopt a pessimist’s viewpoint; something will and probably is, going to go wrong. Take a look at all of the factors that are keeping you from accomplishing your goal and develop a plan to overcome them. Add these plan steps to your calendar system as part of your goal achievement plan.
  • Review your overall progress regularly. Make sure you are making progress. If you are not making progress, hire a coach, tap into the support of loved ones, analyze why the goal is not being met. Don’t allow the goal to just fade away. Figure out what you need to do to accomplish it. Check the prior five steps starting with an assessment of how deeply you actually want to achieve the goal.

This six step goal setting and achieving system seems simple, but it is the most powerful system you will ever find for achieving your goals and living your resolutions. You just need to do it.

Best wishes and good luck.

The Most Successful Salespeople All Have This One Thing in Common

Women@Forbes | Heather R. Morgan

Here are three areas where you need to get more selfish with your time:

1. Create rules for your calendar and follow them religiously.

Your calendar isn’t just a tool for booking meetings with potential clients—it should be how you structure your overall day. And it should include anything that will help you feel physically and mentally better, which in turn improves who you are as a salesperson.

Set out rules for things you must do, whether they happen every day, three times a week or once every few hours. Popular rules are things like going to the gym, waking up by 6 a.m., and planning lunches with friends and coworkers. I also recommend taking 30 minutes each morning to plan out your day before you start any actual work. Include lunches, coffee breaks or any “sanity breaks” you anticipate needing as you build out your daily schedule.

It’s also a good idea to take time each evening to analyze the day. What went well? What did you not accomplish? Did you have any unrealistic expectations? These questions can help you in planning out subsequent days. I also like to spend some time on Fridays to review the week as a whole, and use Mondays as a day to plan my week, since those days tend to be slower from a sales perspective.


2. Disqualify irrelevant leads as early as possible.

As technology lets sales organizations scale faster, it gets easier and easier to book time with tons of leads.

Don’t be deceived. Trying to accommodate every lead you have is one of the easiest ways to waste your valuable time. You will inevitably get leads that aren’t a good fit. Maybe they don’t need your product or service, or they’re just unpleasant people. Either way, you won’t form a meaningful bond with them (or close a deal), so move on.

Or, you can avoid useless leads altogether by knowing your ideal client criteria up front. Your initial research gives you information on the would-be customer’s industry, their day-to-day duties and concerns, issues currently surrounding their industry or company and tons of other facts. (You might even know their favorite football team.)

Use this information to determine their relevance to your business. Say your company typically sells health insurance to large enterprises, but you spend most of your time chasing down small companies on shoestring budgets. At some point, both you and the prospective customer will be forced to recognize there’s little gain in the relationship. So learn how to recognize it earlier. Get honest with yourself first. Then, get honest with the other person and don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t think our company can help you right now.”

That said, don’t burn a bridge just because someone isn’t a good fit right now. They might be down the line. Or your contact might move to a company that is a good fit. Make it clear you’re open to working together in the future.

3. Measure and optimize your sales cycle.

Taking time to examine your past record on the job can tell you a lot about your sales habits—the good ones and the bad. The more data-driven you can make this process, the better.

Review your old deals. One thing I noticed while doing this is that the most lucrative deals tend to close faster, or at least more easily, than the ones you lose or waste time on.

Note the various milestones in your average sales cycle. These may be sales calls or meetings, sending a proposal or a contract, contract negotiations, or any other meaningful moment that signals a new stage in your sales process. These events, along with how fast they do or do not progress, help indicate which deals are not likely to close, allowing you to weed out dead-end leads early. Remember, your ultimate goal here is to dedicate most of your time to the most-promising prospective customers.

Measuring your sales cycle can also free up time to experiment. Are there ways to make the sales cycle faster? Can you close more deals or save time by automating processes or standardizing templates for proposals and follow-up emails? Standardize as much as possible while keeping your sales conversations thoughtful and meaningful. Process is great, but sometimes you have to evolve or think critically and make exceptions to close a big deal. Don’t be afraid to adapt your sales process if you encounter new situations that don’t 100% fit your process. You never know when a new trend in the market is unfolding before your eyes. Or you may have also discovered a lucrative new niche to sell to.

A word of caution: once you start setting various rules and practices for your life in minute detail, it’s easy to fall into a trap of thinking those things are set in stone for life. They’re not. So build in time to improve the way you approach your routine. If a task or process is a hassle, skip the next cocktail reception you’re invited to and use that time to figure out how to fix what’s broken or lagging. Your colleagues, managers, clients and, most importantly, yourself, will reap tons of benefits ultimately from that one little moment of selfishness.

10 Habits Successful People Give Up to Increase Their Productivity

10 Habits Successful People Give Up to Increase Their Productivity

By Carl Preston | Lifehack

What are you willing to do in order to reach success? It is common among people these days to be average and not stand out too much. But those who are successful do not fall under this category.

In order to stay on top of your game and reach the level of success you want, you need to follow a certain set of self-induced rules. Success is not something that happens by accident; if you want it bad enough, you will get it. Learn the habits that successful people have given up in order to reach their own success.

1. They don’t work in their comfort zone.

What is your comfort zone? Your comfort zone is defined as “A psychological state in which a person feels familiar, at ease, in control, and experiences low anxiety.” When you get outside of your comfort zone, it doesn’t mean that you should strive for a constant state of anxiety and stress. It simply means that, in order to grow, you should try new things and expand your horizons.

The reason we are comfortable in our comfort zone is because we are not taking risks when we are in this state. When we live in our comfort zones, we are living life like hamsters on a wheel, going around and around in a constant cycle, but going nowhere in our lives.

Famous motivational speaker, Les Brown, said it best with, “If you put yourself in a position where you have to stretch outside your comfort zone, then you are forced to expand your consciousness.”

2. They don’t do without first learning.

Learning is what we do best. The greatest thing about learning is the benefit that we receive in all aspects of our lives. Successful people strive to continue learning new things and expanding on things that they already know.

If we stop learning, then the only thing we can do is settle with what we already know; if we settle for that, then there is no way to expand our minds. Expansion is essential on the path to success. Since our minds require learning for expansion, we must never stop seeking new knowledge.

Imagine what would have happened if Bill Gates stopped learning and growing. The internet would be much more primitive than it is today. But because he followed his dreams and continued growing, he founded one of the biggest companies in the world and it is still flourishing and growing today.

3. They don’t fear asking for advice.

Richard Branson, a famous entrepreneur, stated, “When you need to make hard decisions, being able to discuss your ideas with entrepreneurs and business leaders who have solved similar problems can make all the difference.”

Asking for advice is not always easy. We think that we have the same opportunity as everyone else and sometimes feel insecure and dependent, so we decide not to ask for advice, and try to figure it out ourselves. But this could be greatly limiting us from reaching our full potential, because the advice we might be seeking could be something that somebody knows very well.

4. They don’t get lost in the small details.

When life gives us seemingly endless opportunities, it is very easy to get lost in the small details. The small details are very easy for us to become focused on, thus causing us to miss out on the overall vision, also known as the “big picture”.

Focusing too much on the smaller details constricts your ability to see how everything ties together. Much of our lives hinge upon the connections that we make with others and with ourselves. If we get lost in the small detail, it is like having missing pieces to a puzzle. How are we supposed to solve that?

Imagine what would have happened if Henry Ford only saw the small details. When building the company that Ford is today, he knew that he must do something different if his company was to succeed. After many people told him it couldn’t be done, his company continued improving upon the smaller details until they got it right.

Henry Ford didn’t focus too much on the small details, which were the hundreds of times he failed; he saw the overall goal and knew that it could be accomplished. It required seeing the bigger picture to make it happen.

5. They don’t multitask.

Multitasking is typically viewed as a skill that only certain people possess. But truth be told, nobody actually has the ability to multitask. Multitasking is known to actually decrease productivity. Those who are successful focus on one specific task and do that task to the best of their ability without interruption.

When you multitask, you limit your ability to fully focus on one specific task at a time. Successful people utilize the talents and abilities that they have by focusing it on one task and one task only.

Emma Watson said, “I just dropped my iPhone in my soup. I think it might be time to tone down the multitasking..” This demonstrates how destructive multitasking is highlighting the fact that when we multitask, we are greatly limiting ourselves.

6. They don’t lie to themselves.

Lying to yourself is one of the easiest things for you to do. It is much more difficult to accept the problems that we have without make excuses for them. Successful people understand that we will encounter problems, both internally and externally.

But it is important to accept the problems that reside in our lives, rather than not dealing with them and lying to ourselves about them.

As Steve Maraboli said, “Stop lying to yourself. When we deny our own truth, we deny our own potential.”

7. They don’t procrastinate in asking for feedback.

Feedback is important, because it gives you a different perspective on your current situation. Sometimes you are not able to see the answer that is right in front of you. But when someone gives you feedback, it allows you to see something from the perspective of someone else.

If you procrastinate asking someone for feedback, you are missing out on time that could be put towards accomplishing your dreams. The longer you wait, the harder it is to utilize advice that others can give you.

“I think It’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you´re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better,” entrepreneur Elon Musk once said.

8. They don’t follow, they lead.

You have probably heard the phrase “lead, follow or get out of the way.” There are two types of people in this world: leaders and followers. The ones who are successful are the ones who are leading the pack.

Successful people are not successful because they got there by chance. They did not follow somebody to the finish line. They paved their own path in life to get where they needed to be.

Just as the great Robert Frost stated, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

9. They don’t let the past dictate their future.

The past is something that we will never change, nor should we want to change it; because without it, we would not have learned the lessons we needed to learn. Therefore, we would wind up making the same mistakes over and over again until we learned the lesson that life is trying to teach us.

At one time, businessman Shahid Khan washed dishes for $1.20 an hour. His humble background did not prevent him from thinking bigger though. With a net worth of $3.8 billion dollars, he now owns Flex-N-Gate, one of the largest private companies in the U.S., the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, and Premier League soccer club Fulham.

10. They don’t hang around negative people.

Negative people are very destructive to be around when it comes to achieving success, because there are so many situations that life throws at us and causes us to get down on ourselves or our situation. But some people like to focus on this aspect of life the majority of the time.

When you are around negative people enough, you start to see things negatively and you begin to lose sight of your dream. Success is more about mindset than anything, and if you always have a negative mindset, life will reward you with negative outcomes to deal with.

Joel Olsteen once said, “You cannot expect to live a positive life if you hang with negative people.” So if you wish you be successful, don’t focus on the negativity that others bring.

To be successful requires focus and determination. It seems that every successful person follows similar patterns. Therefore, it’s easy to see why they are where they are. They knew what they had to do in order to achieve their dreams and they didn’t let anyone or anything stop them from getting there.

You have the power in yourself to become one of those successful people you admire and look up to.

25 Worst Buzzwords of 2017

By Zoë Henry | Staff writer, Inc.

To save you–and the people you love–some time, Inc. parsed the dictionaries, the social-media networks, and the piles of press releases that reporters get on a daily basis. Without further ado, in order from least to most offensive, here are the worst buzzwords of 2017:

25. NextGen

If you think you’ve been hearing this one for entirely too long, you’re not mistaken…all the more reason it makes no sense in 2017. The label is commonly applied to software upgrades, but as the best programmers know well, whatever is “NextGen” of the moment will hardly be “NextGen” by the time it’s downloaded. Nix.

24. Deep Dive

Attention, scubas: A dive is, by definition, plunging into the murky depths of a subject. Your “deep dive” doesn’t sound cool, it’s redundant. (If you were truly “diving deeply” you might have understood that.)

23. Snowflake

A derogatory term for someone perceived as too sensitive to have their worldview challenged, “snowflake” is a buzzword championed by the alt-right. If you’re really that interested in the uniqueness of frozen matter, we suggest a lefty alternative: The broflake. 

22. Ping Me

Don’t “ping me,” please. Send me an email. I’m not a plastic ball.

21. Gig Economy

Short-term labor is practically the new norm, so you might as well just start saying “economy.”

20. Silos

What are we, in a granary? All together now: Departments.

19. Engagement

Your users aren’t getting married to your service. Honestly, they probably don’t even like it that much.

18. Growth Hacking

I almost feel like this needs no description, but please, if you’re experimenting across marketing channels: Just. Say. That.

17. Bandwidth

Why no, I do not have the range of frequencies occupied by a modulated carrier signal to pick up that menial task you’ve thrown my way.

16. Customer-centric

Honestly, if you’re anything-else-centric, just file for Chapter 11 right now.

15. Workflow

I was paddling along the river Thames one morning when I realized…oh wait.

14. Initial Coin Offering

If Paris Hilton endorses it, you probably shouldn’t.

13. Stratcom

Short for “strategic communications.” It’s the name of my future robot puppy, not your operational regime.

12. Hive Mind

Tapping into the collective consciousness is weird enough without a buzzword. Lose it.

11. Pivot to Video

If it didn’t work for Ross…

10. Wheelhouse

“Why, sir! You’ve lost your sailor’s cap in the —” is the only acceptable preceding clause.

9. Bizmeth

Short for “business method.” I heard bizmeth goes for $50 an ounce in San Ysidro. That’s probably too expensive for your company to justify.

8. Core Competency

Lots of people–for instance, quite a few in Washington–don’t possess this. But everyone should.

7. Paradigm Shift

…is the next movie from director M. Night Shyamalan. Not the way to describe changes in investor perception of the tech IPO.

6. Omnichannel

God is Omnichannel. Your marketing, not so much.

5. Hustle

If you were really doing it, you wouldn’t have time to talk about it.

4. Digital Native

We’re internet users, not confused Italian explorers of the 16th century.

3. Ripe for Disruption

No industry is so juicy that it deserves the analog.

2. Influencer

Just because you have 4 million followers doesn’t mean you’ve changed my mind.

1. Cuck

A holdover from 2016, cuck still seems to be in common Twitter parlance. It’s a shorthand for perceived weaknesses–particularly for men who may be submissive to women–but generally demonstrates the user’s own misogyny. Inc. begs of you, reader: Don’t use it.

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