Some key aspects to motivating people are
- Cause and Community
Last time we looked at the first two. Now let’s consider the others.
Affirmation is first cousin to encouragement; as we affirm people we are saying ‘I believe in you’. A little affirmation and encouragement goes a long way. By bringing affirmation you are demonstrating that the person’s effort has been noticed and appreciated, and appreciation is a key part of the motivation recipe. People rarely look for any other reward if appreciation has been expressed for who they are and what they have done.
How often do you reach the end of the day feeling ‘what was that all about?’ Or conversely, how often feeling ‘that was a really good day’? These polarised positions are the extremes of some sort of satisfaction-scale. Part of a ‘why do we exist?’ consideration is to do with how we spend our time. If we feel we have made a contribution to some cause, the betterment of society or the fulfilment of a dream we have the feeling of satisfaction. This is something that we want to repeat and drives us on to greater exploits. So satisfaction is an important part of feeling motivated.
A manager’s job is not just to delegate but to support those in his or her care in what they are doing. Getting alongside someone who is working for you and giving them the support they need is vital to getting the job done and reduces the feeling of being inadequate for the task. This includes giving them time to express how they feel and how they are getting on. Also for them to express any frustrations or need for help, whether physical, practical, emotional or in an area of training. Indeed, providing training, whether in-house or external, is a great motivator as it demonstrates your willingness to invest in the volunteer and up-skill him.
In any job it is vital to have the right tools and resources. Sometimes it is tempting to think that a volunteer does not need the same level of resources, particularly those that save time, as his time does not cost you money. However, idleness or inefficiency may carry a greater cost – the loss of the volunteer continuing to serve. Frustration is a great de-motivator.
Next time we will look at some more aspects of managing volunteers.