Hot News

Keeping Your Team Motivated ""

Hi, everyone. Thanks for tuning in to learn more about motivating your teens and challenging times. My name is Tarion Benjamin and I'm a managing director at Goldman Sachs within our capital management division. Joining me today is learned dip, a vice president on our team and part of our leadership development practice.

Motivation is a topic right near and dear to my heart. It's one of my favorites. I've been working on motivation with leaders internal and external, to the farm for a couple of years now, actually. And it's always an important topic. It's always one people want to focus on. And it goes without saying right. We all know what it feels like to work with a motivated team. That's always what we're striving for. And right now, it's more challenging than ever to get people to feel motivated and engaged in their work as they're working remotely. So I think this is gonna be time very well spent. And I'm excited. Just get started.

Right. And you said it more that this is something managers do with tends to be a need. It's one of those cornerstone skills. And so what's been interesting when we've been getting the influx of questions about helped me to do this better. We actually started to get some contradictory stories as well. And what I mean by that is on the one hand, we had managers, you know, rightfully saying this is hard. It feels harder than it's ever felt before. I used to be able to do that. What's changed? My people are incredibly demotivated. On the other hand, we've had a few managers and leaders sued. So I feel like my people are more productive. They're able to focus. We've minimized distractions. And so we held that up and discussed amongst ourselves, the team, that that seems to be a contradiction in terms. But what we actually know from studying the research and in really looking at this is that it really is about the element of choice. What we're seeing right now is that when employees have that choice taken away from them, this is what becomes of the real. This is the significant headwind to motivation that we're experiencing. Conversely, when an employer can choose to work remotely, you might see upticks in motivation. We actually see productivity increase. And it's certainly true that the role that you have within a company, the nature of your work can meaningfully impact your motivation. And so, you know, there's real data that supports that. You know, Lindsay McGregor and Neil Doshi, and they're both trying to perform. So as much as a 70 percent decrease in motivation when that element of choice was taking away. And so we have to really balance what we're experiencing with the data and the insights and the research. Tell us. But also which is some practical advice, that type of situation. But still relevant in multiple different contexts, particularly in today's context.

As managers, there are things that we can do that will change the way that our people are experiencing this environment and their working environment. And carry on. I would love for us to sort of go through your feelings on that and your advice that maybe for us this is something we talk about every day. But not everyone talks motivation day to day. So maybe we can just go through back to basics. So how do we, as Goldman Sachs, think about and define motivation? And we'll start from there.

The way to think about motivating your team is to start with what intrinsically motivates individuals. And there's insights that we know to be true about the four levers, as we call it, that drive motivation. The first one to think about is this concept of mastery. And this is to

what extent does your day to day job provide you an opportunity to grow and develop your skills?

 So what I'm doing each and every day, I feel that I'm actually moving forward with my development. The next lever to think about is the sense of social connection. This is really about the respect and the trust that you have for the people that you work with. Sometimes you'll hear people say, spend more time with my colleagues and I do with my family. And when you feel that sense of social connection, that really helps drive your motivation and people seek that. The third lever to consider is what we call a sense of purpose. And that purpose word is pretty big. Right. But just boil it down. What it means is the value you think that your job plays in terms of the impact that drives. And that impact is usually at a grander scale than perhaps your day to day lived experience. You usually feel that it's at the organizational level. Better yet, at the societal level.

But you really believe fundamentally that what you're doing is making something better that is bigger than you. And then the final is a sense of autonomy. And this is about the way in which you do your work. You have control over. I can dictate, you know, how I approach something. Designing a program is in my experience and in my role. Or if you're a trader, you have a little bit more agency around the risk that you're going to take and how you're going to manage your book. And so all of these things together can work quite lovely in terms of driving motivation or wanted a time depending on the situation and depending on the individual. And so when we talk about this with managers, we first help them to understand what are those levers, too,

 which ones manage for their employee? 

And three and we'll get into this a little bit later on, which matters to them. And, you know, when you put all of that together, you really have a really nice recipe to think through. OK, well,

 how do I manage that particular person in this particular environment?

 And so level setting, that understanding around mastery, social connection, purpose and autonomy as the four main drivers for motivation is the first step.

Yeah, I think that's a really great foundation and the way that we're actually thinking about motivation, as you said, that's intrinsic motivation, which I think for many of us in the field is the gold standard. That's the thing that's that's most sustainable. That really keeps people feeling focused and engaged and motivated at work. And for many people, when we talk about those four things, the thing that strikes them is, well, they're all interrelated. They're all overlapping.

 How can you separate them out?

 I think that's very true. But for the purposes of this conversation that we're having actually for each of those four things, I think there are specific ways in which the environment right now sort of degrades the motivation people feel in that particular pillar. So keeping them separate as it is a great organizing principle for us as we think about how we as managers can take action with our people. And so with that in mind. Do you want just talk us through where the threats are, let's say, to the motivation that people feel all along those four things, maybe we can just split them up two and two, starting with connection and mastery.

So when you think about the sense of mastery, what we find is that the biggest threat is pereyra anxiety. Now, anxiety on a good day unmanaged can be incredibly overwhelming and can be a significant derailer when it comes to career anxiety. What you're looking for to see if this is a threat someone is experiencing is this sense that they have it. They're stalling. They're treading water. They don't know what the future holds. They have uncertainty around whether or not what they're doing right now is going to get them to what they want to do tomorrow. When we think about a social connection, the real threat, there is a loss of connectivity. You know, we're social beings. We've spent a lot of time and you may have read some research from psychology talking about what the pandemic will do two, three years from now in terms of people's mental health. And it's something that we take very seriously at in our firm. But for some people, when it comes to work, they really enjoy the camaraderie and the team spirit and their tacit understanding of what others are doing around them. That's contributing to the work that they're doing. I'll even overlay for some people who are incredible extroverts. They get energy from people.

There's another element, I think, to the social connection piece, which is that teams just innately have these connections between them, these flows of information that we don't even know are happening until they're cut off. And so for many people, they're finding when they're separated from their teams, they're just not as efficient. I question. Or they would have overheard the answer to they no longer have a song call they would have known happened. They have information on that now. And so for many, it's also that feeling of not being active, not being as efficient in your work that can make you feel demotivated or less focused.

 Can you talk us through the next choose of purpose and autonomy?

So the threat to purpose is really a loss of meaning. We all have a delicate balance in our professional and personal lives and the work that we do for the most part is important. We all strive to have that deep sense of meaning in what we get up every day to contribute our skills and talents too. And so when your sense of purpose is and you feel adrift. You may wonder is what I'm doing really have a greater impact to solve the problems of the world?

 But more specifically, this pandemic. And, you know, there's been a lot of insight provided around the heroes in this pandemic, the people who are on the front lines, that media coverage, that real gratitude that all of the global community is feeling towards those folks can start to infiltrate our own minds about what are we doing, how are we supporting that costs and not even on such a grand scale. Sometimes people to see is a sense of meaning because they're unsure about what the new priorities are or where their teams and for their organizations give in times of destabilization.

So let's talk about the final drive or motivation, which is a sense of what's on me. And the threat here is a loss of control. Many of us have a very delicate balance between our family responsibilities. Our work from home set up the flow of information that we're getting from work, the boundaries that we're setting. We put all of those things together. It's inevitable that at some point you feel that you've lost control of the situation and that's what this threat is really all about. So when you think about purpose and the threat, they are being the loss of meaning and you put that together with autonomy and the threat that there be the loss of control, what happens is you create a very destabilizing effect for individuals right now, and that can lead to feelings of guilt. And it can lead to feelings of anxiety. And that's why those threats are critically important. And these final two are really harder, as we'll talk about later in our session, to really help people work their way through.

So what always occurs to us when we're teaching this stuff to managers and to leaders is that what we're asking people to do is a little unnatural. There is a dichotomy here that we want to address, which is that though you're experiencing all these things as a manager, keep at your teams, you're also experiencing as an individual. So you are motivated yourselves. These threats that you heard likely resonate with you on a personal level. And to ignore that would be a mistake. And so what we would like to do is to have you basically do an exercise at home. So you're gonna need to pause me and carry on as you're thinking through this. But we'll have you do. It's very simple. You take a sheet of paper and split down the middle and on the left hand side. You take these four friends that carry on just spoke about and rank them for yourselves, which are the ones that are hitting you hardest. That really resonate the most that we're feeling the most for yourself right now. One, two, three, four. And then the same exercise for your team, which are the ones that you're picking up in your team, the models that you think are sort of loudest for them.

One, two, three, four. And we want you to just notice there's no right or wrong answer here, of course. But we want you to notice as if there is a discrepancy between your lists and the reason why that's important. Is that something that we see happen all the time is that people project what motivates them onto the people in their team. So if you found yourself ever saying to yourself, when I was an analyst, I have jumped at this opportunity and this person's not really taking it seriously. That could be because you as an analyst were motivated by something different to that person. And so just knowing where those differences exist will help you in serving your team and also help you just in thinking about what would motivate you and what you need right now from your manager. So I'll give you a second to do that. So I talked before about how we should feel empowered to make a difference with our people and to change the way they're experiencing that. Why don't we now start talking through

what does actually look like for each of the friends that we identified?

There's tons of research and insights that we can draw from here, but we've really distill this down into the best of the best practices, as we like to call it. So we're going to really who lean on one or two very important things. So when we think about mastery and the threat there in terms of career I.T., one of the key things that we find that works is actually working with individuals to help them re-establish their career roadmap. One of the tools that we advise managers use is the classic professional development plan. Some people might call it a career development plan, whatever you call it. The idea is the same. You want someone to really rethink themselves. So what are their strengths? What are the areas where development? What are the work that they're doing on a day to day basis in which they can see those strengths and areas where developing. Being deployed or being developed? And how are you going to measure that? How will they think about success? And if you take it one step further and extend that timeline, how will they think about the forward for their career? So what are their goals when they think about six months, 12 months, 18 or 24 months down the road? So why do that as a career development plan or professional development is an anchor? What it allows you to do is actually open up a dialogue with your employees to understand one.

Are they feeling anxious about what's happening, too? What are the things that is within their scope of control that they can really work on actively through their work to really calm themselves and give themselves a feeling of confidence? And three, how can you support them, which is the ultimate goal for a manager? You get a little bit of information, you provide a little bit of coaching to help them reflect accurately, and then you can partner with them day to day to help them achieve some of those goals. So when we talk about the second drive or motivation, which is social connection and the threat, which is a loss of that connection, the best practice we have there is to nourish and restore those connection in very intentional and deliberate ways. A very easy thing to do is actually think about how many times you're connecting with people throughout the course of a day, a week or a month or several months, depending on how long this situation lasts. Actually had one partner tell me that he made a list of all the direct reports that he has and he very intentionally goes through and reaches out to individuals on a pretty regular cadence.

The reason I'm sharing this advice and giving you this example is one of the things about social connection that's really important is you want to make sure that you're intentional and you're equitable. And so one of the risks to doing this well is that you only engage or connect with those who have a loud voice. The individual who's going to reach out to you themselves and you're going to respond in turn as a leader and manager, you actually want to make sure that you cast your net much wider and you're thinking about connecting with each and every member of your team in appropriate ways, either just to check in to see how they're doing or to actually engage them in updates on their work and making sure that they feel supported by you in what they need to do. And so really thinking about the different vehicles, whether email, it's a phone call and ways in which to connect, you can really help combat that sense of loss that people have in terms of how often they're able to connect with each other.

Something that we've had managers tell us works really well for them is just all getting on to assume. Call no agenda, not a meeting. Everyone's working independently, but you're all together and that way. The thing that you used to be up, do it. Just pop your head up and shout out a question and get an answer. You can do that again. You can also hear other people answer and ask. Questions. You can hear other people as they work through problems. And it just creates some of that really intuitive information flow that we would have otherwise lost. Yes, absolutely. And that's also important as well. OK, that's great. Those are the easy ones gone. And now we get to the more challenging ones, the more existential ones of purpose and autonomy. Maybe we should start with purpose.

How would you recommend that people go about creating that meaning for their people?

And this is much harder because, you know, as you mentioned, more in the first. You really feel more in your control. And there's something active. You have agency around that you can do with your people. These are there, too. You need to do in partnership with your people to some extent because you can't solve it. When we talk about purpose, once tipped to really think about is to

what extent can you reconnect the dots for your employees? 

We have this concept of zooming out, right. People can very can get very myopically focused on their day to day. And when you as a leader practice zooming out and engage your employees in that conversation, you will see the bigger picture. How does what they are doing align with the goals and objectives of the team? How does the team's goals align with that of the business unit or to the department? How does the department's goal align with that of the firm in the organization's mission and strategy? And when you reconnect those dots and take employees back on that journey, it really helps to around them get a sense of meaning, which is the meet, which is the threat. As we've said, to purpose. And

 how could we use that sense of purpose to drive their motivation?

One other I think that I think is an easy win in the mining space is that especially for junior people who are really disconnected to whether it's a client or a customer or consumer of any kind. They're probably the furthest away from that interaction. There are actually opportunities created by the environment we're in where junior people can be brought forward. So there might have been an environment previously where a junior person in charge of sort of creating a presentation or the deck or whatever it is, wouldn't have been invited to that final client meeting. But now, if we're doing it on Zoomer, on the telephone, it's much less disruptive to have an extra person in there, and it could mean a lot to them. So there are options like that available to managers that weren't before, which we should think about taking advantage.

So when we talk about the sense of autonomy and the threat to autonomy is a loss of control. There's two tickets that we would recommend. One is reprivatization and the second is managing expectations or reestablishing expectations. Let's talk about reprivatization. It's really important at this time more than ever that you sit down with people that work with you and help reestablish what are the things that they're doing that is important but not urgent. And

 what are the things that are actually urgent and there's little to no flexibility on?

 We have a concept in our team and we talk about putting some elastic back into the system. When you re prioritize with your team, you really are giving them a bit more flex and a partner with them to understand how did the boundaries that they've set for themselves align with what they need to do in terms of their priorities and what's a reasonable amount of time that you can expect for them to deliver on that? And it's an important conversation that you can have, and it really will reestablish control. The second piece of advice is actually thinking about expectations. Oftentimes we talk about expectations. And it's a one and done conversation. Maybe you have it with someone gets promoted. Maybe you have it when you've given someone a new project. But at times like that, it's really important to reestablish that contract. You want to make sure that there is transparency and clarity around what is expected in this role. How should they behave? How do you expect them to show up for others on the team? And what is the dynamic? So to speak, in terms of communication flow and the boundaries that they set in, letting others know their schedule and this new work environment that can really impact them and their ability to have control over their work. What also impacts other team members and their ability to work effectively with that person?

Something I've seen some managers struggle with in this area is that we have hammered into people for years that you do not micromanage high performers. Right. And so sometimes doing these things you just described hearing and can feel that way. Right. Am I being too prescriptive? Am I am I telling them how to do their job instead of just telling what the outcome is? I think that's a wonderful instinct and I love to see people having that red flag. But actually the environment we're in is so unusual and even high performers. If you don't have conversations like this can feel unmoored and they don't quite know how to anticipate their work, how to plan for their work and how to perform at that high level that you obviously come to expect from them.

So you're absolutely right. And, you know, there is a risk of micromanagement, but better to offer someone that support that they need to help them work through that than to assume that they can do it on their own.

Yeah, definitely. And then, you know, something that I think is striking, Kerrianne, as we talk through all of these tips that we have, is that none of them are really rocket science and enough himself. Right. What we're really doing here, and we mentioned this at the top, is that we're trying to be really intentional about the way that we create outcomes. And so all of these tips that Kerrianne, you've mentioned, I've mentioned, are really looking to bring a bit more intentionality to the way in which we create those outcomes on our teams.

We can't fall back on the natural dynamic flow of day to day work that's created when we have a shared space. We have to really lean it into the tools in our toolkit that can help us elevate the work that everyone is doing and the way in which they're doing it. And the way in which we're going to do it together. That is the work of managers right now. And it's hard. You know, it's it's really challenging to think through making conscious what might be subconscious most of the time.

Yeah, and that brings me actually then to sort of a second half of that exercise. I had everyone do earlier, so I would ask you to find that piece of paper that you used. And what you're going to do is against each of the threats that you wrote for your team. Just knocked down one or two things that you want to try. You don't need to be silver bullet to fix everything, but things that you want to do that you wouldn't have otherwise done. And it can be difficult to choose. We just throw a lot at you. But good questions to reflect on. Ah, you know, what conversations am I going to be having with my team? How am I going to make them feel cared for? How am I going to create a sense of purpose for them? How do I know if I've been successful? So what's going to signify success for me? And then things won't always be this way. I think we are stuck in the present. But at some point we will be back in a new normal, the next normal, whatever you want to call it.

And so is there anything that we would establish now with our teams that we will carry forward that we think would make us even more effective when we get back to work?

 And once you've done that, something that we know from the research is that if you tell even one person, you're much, much, much more likely to actually do what they say. And if you tell someone on your team, it gets exponentially more likely. So think about if you want to share with your team the reflection you've been doing here with us. And anything that you want to make a commitment to them. And then finally, you know, the thing I would say, just as my closing thought is to just pick up from what I said earlier, you know, none of these things are individually on their own to change the way that your team is experiencing this moment. But there is real value in getting the small stuff right. And these things cumulatively together, small, consistent actions can help you get that baseline when your team is really going to thrive.

That's right, Lauren. And it's so important that we come full circle with this conversation by ending with what we think is the most critical

, the best practice here. And that's to take care of yourself. And what I mean by that is before you start engaging with your team on what motivates them, the threats of their motivation. Take some time to actually reflect and understand what's happening for you. What we find is the most effective leaders spend time reflecting and really tap into how I adjusted to the situation. What are the things that I need in terms of making sure that I have sustained performance through this period so that I can show up appropriately for myself and for my team? And if I dare say for those at home, because all of those lines in a funny way have blurred right now. And so in the exercise that launched earlier, let's not forget that there is a part of that column that should be dedicated to you and thinking through what motivates you. What are the threats that that motivation and what you need from your manager in order to show up each and every day?