Challenging Employees to Top Performance

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Managers and supervisors need to challenge their employees to increase their motivation and performance.

Q: Why is challenge a motivator for employees – aren’t they looking for a comfortable easy job?

A: Let me answer it with a question – if I were to ask you and every listener to think back to the time in your career when you were the most energized, motivated and looked forward to coming to work every day, and when you felt that you accomplished the most, what comes to mind? Having asked this question to many groups that I speak to, the answer comes back the same – employees are the most energized when they face a challenging assignment. Something they were not sure they could handle and yet with perseverance and encouragement, they succeeded. So challenge is really a great motivator because it focuses on achievement.

Q: Doesn’t the challenging assignment cause stress and anxiety for most people?

A: Yes, think in terms of what an athlete goes through to become a top performer in their sport. They go through ever increasing challenges and push themselves through higher and higher levels of performance. Part of the motivation of being challenged is the fear that you might not succeed. This is what keeps people in the safe zone when what they really need to do is begin to feed off the fear and use it as fuel to succeed.

Q: Why don’t managers challenge their employees more often?

A: Many managers and leaders choose to play it safe. They put the same people in the same jobs day in and day out. What the manager is forgetting is that by doing that, they are causing employees to become stale and demotivated.

Q: Can their be too much challenge?

A: Yes, this is where you get a tough manager who never allows the employees to stand back and appreciate their accomplishments before pushing them to another level. The manager should have a vision and plan in mind for how to challenge each person in their workgroup to grow a few times during the year. Even top athletes get some down time in the off season.

Q: Are their any resources that managers can tap into through your website?

A: Yes, I encourage people to visit, sign up for my newsletter and perhaps send me an email to see how I can elevate the performance of the supervisors and managers in their organization to bring out higher performance across the organization. I also want to congratulate a group of managers and supervisors at EnWin who I have been working with for the past two years. They are graduating this Thursday – way to go guys!