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February 2024

Using Motivational Maps as a leadership tool?

9 reasons for using Motivational Maps as leadership tool...

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Everywhere in the business, management and even national presses and social media sites we go, we find the constant refrain of a lack of productivity in the UK, and this has been going on since the financial crisis of 2008. It has been exacerbated, of course, by the Covid epidemic which has proved an unexpected game changer, particularly for those organisations that simply cannot get their staff back into their offices. There is much wringing-of-hands and wailings of despair as not much seems to improve as we ‘progress’ to we know not where!

But one thing is very clear to me: that every single level in our society we need to improve the quality of our leadership. Indeed, I think most people would concede that the general level of leadership we see around us is – at best – poor. So many of our leaders seem clueless or simply corrupt: the Post Office scandal, HS2, Nat West and De-Banking, and more and more besides. As Sun Tzu observed long ago, ‘… competitive success … is determined by leadership skill alone’. Our almost complete failure in this area is indicative of the problem.

What, then, can be done to improve the situation? The first thing is to understand what leadership is and I would refer people to my book, co-written with Jane Thomas, Mapping Motivation for Leadership (Routledge, 2019) for an in-depth look. The title of the book, though, gives one thing away: motivation is central to being an effective leader. They are in fact a hand-in-glove combo. Leaders who do not motivate people do not, and cannot, achieve anything like what truly motivational leaders do!

Here are nine reasons for using Motivational Maps in your leadership practice.

Personalized Leadership Approach

First, Motivational Maps provides what might be termed a personalized leadership approach. They provide insights into the unique drivers and needs of each team member, allowing leaders to tailor their leadership approach to individuals rather than employing a one-size-fits-all strategy. In our culture today, this is vital. With staff shortages prevalent, it is no good being ignorant of what the differences between Baby Boomers, generation X, Millenials and generation Alpha entering the work force are. Being really clear on the cultural differences and what the motivational profiles are can only be a major asset to the leader. Actually, understanding what staff really want is a major plus and leap forward in any generation.

Enhanced Employee Engagement

Second, and this follows from point 1: Understanding what motivates employees can lead to higher levels of engagement as leaders can align tasks and responsibilities with individuals' intrinsic motivations, resulting in a more fulfilling work experience. Add to this the Reward Strategy ideas that are inherent in all Motivational Map work, and you have a simple and easy-to-follow recipe for enhanced employee engagement.

Improved Communication

Third, by their very nature Motivational Maps facilitate open and honest conversations between leaders and team members about their motivations, preferences, and goals; this fosters better understanding and communication within the team. I think it was Brian Tracy who maintained that 85% of any organisations’ problems were down to communication issues. Thus, using Motivational Maps – and its objective, non-judgemental, non-stereo-typing language – leads to seriously improved communication.

Increased Productivity

Fourth, increased productivity. By aligning tasks and goals with employees' motivations, leaders can increase productivity as individuals are more likely to be energized and committed to their work, resulting in higher levels of output and efficiency. High levels of performance correlate with high levels of energy (motivation) multiplied by high levels of skill (and knowledge). This is core, and the general movement away from considering performance as the number one issue for an organisation (that is, for the leader to address), and substituting for it instead political ideologies and virtue-signalling, is a pathology that can only undermine the organisation in the long run.

Effective Talent Management

Fifth, Motivational Maps can help leaders identify and nurture talent within their teams by recognizing individuals' unique strengths, motivations, and potential areas for development. This means: effective talent management. In a world in which the Talent Wars are real, and in which there is a shortage of talent, this is a major competitive advantage, because not only does it mean that one retains the best but also …

Reduced Staff Turnover

Sixth, it leads to reduced staff turnover. A better understanding of employees' motivations allows leaders to create a work environment that meets their needs and fosters a sense of belonging, reducing turnover rates and retaining top talent within the organization. Of course, this reduces costs and so can contribute to profitability.

Enhanced Team Dynamics

Seventh, by assembling teams based on complementary motivational profiles, leaders can promote collaboration, creativity, and synergy among team members, leading to improved team dynamics and performance (again, this word!). These enhanced team dynamics unlock not just synergy but unforeseen potentialities. It truly promotes diversity: of motivations and so of thinking – and so of possibilities.

Proactive Conflict Resolution

Eighth, Motivational Maps enable leaders to anticipate and address potential conflicts arising from differences in motivations, preferences, and work styles, leading to more effective conflict resolution and reduced tension within the team. The objective language of Motivational Maps enables time and again the a-ha moments that come when people realise that other members are not the enemy, but just different in their motivational drives; this can be so helpful and so healing. Motivational Maps, then, promote proactive conflict resolution.

Strategic Decision-Making

Finally, and ninth, leaders can use insights from Motivational Maps to make more informed decisions about resource allocation, task assignment, and organizational strategy, ensuring that initiatives are aligned with employees' motivations and the overall goals of the organization. Effectively, contribute to strategic decision-making. This is particularly true when the Organisational Motivational Map is deployed; it has a suite of tools that enable leaders to be able to pinpoint where discrepancies occur between the leaders’ motivations and organisational values, and the employees’ view of, and feelings about, things.

Ultimately, incorporating Motivational Maps into leadership practices can lead to a more engaged, productive, and cohesive teams, driving better business outcomes and greater organizational success. Why not find a practitioner and experience this for yourself?