What is the best motivator you can provide at work? Money? Promotion? What can you deliver that will exponentially grow the performance of a member of your team?
A single phone call.
Call them at home — at night. Yes – that’s right – a single phone call. Acknowledgement by a superior has been shown to better motivate individuals than money, promotions, gifts, bonuses, etc. Why? Ultimately, we all crave acknowledgement for what we do every day. The wins, the performance, the ‘work’ that we drive day in and day out. When someone of authority acknowledges our performance, we are energized for another 100,000 miles. Raises? Be honest – they only last a month or two.
So -how do you do it so it has the MAXIMUM effect? Call them at home. Preferably during the week – say at 8 PM. Make sure they are finished with dinner and sitting at home with their spouse and kids.
What do you say? “Susan, this is John — do you have a second? First off, no emergency here – so no worries.” At this point they will be nervous – they are thinking something blew up or they are about to be fired. You need to calm them down immediately and get them in a ‘level’ mode of thinking.
“I was just going through some of my notes and I just wanted you to know how important you are to my team. Not just an acting member – you are my right-hand person. I could not accomplish half of what our team delivers without you. I just wanted to let you know that your performance makes our entire team (and me) look good. And I wanted you to know that.” Then shut up and let them absorb the acknowledgement and respond. This is important. Let them react – they might be gracious and push it off – and you need to reiterate and place it right back in their lap.
Once you are done (this call should last no longer than 5 minutes) – thank them again and hang up. What happens on their end? Immediately, their spouse asks who called – and then they get to relate what just happened to their spouse – further growing the good will you have just delivered. And it gets further cemented in their psyche as the night goes on. When they get in the next morning, they are ready to rock.
And what has this cost you? Nothing. Just 5 minutes of your time. So try it — you’ll find that it works wonders.