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Are you really motivating your team?

When motivation drops, so do fresh ideas, wellbeing and resilience, says business coach and Olympic medallist Cath Bishop. Competition, targets and incentives are not the answer – we are not wired to win. Purpose, relationships and learning hold the key to ‘the bigger game’

LuxuryMarketMotivation is part of our lives whether we are managers, leaders, teachers, coaches or parents. We all want to achieve our goals and need others to help make that happen. We (usually) have good intentions and a genuine desire to inspire those around us, yet motivation levels in the workplace are worryingly low. One Gallup survey of the global workforce suggested that only 13% of employees are engaged in their jobs, and in the UK, only 8%. So what is going wrong?

First, we need to understand more about motivation and the different choices we can make. When working with a company, I always explore what sense of purpose exists. What are the fundamental aims from which the daily mindset, behaviours and conversations flow? If there is a primary focus on competition, rankings and targets, then ego, status and extrinsic rewards often dominate the culture. This typically results in low levels of engagement and motivation levels, despite the persistent myths that competition is useful for raising performance. In truth, short-term targets and extrinsic incentives distract from investing in longer-term collaboration and innovation, learning and deeper forms of motivation.