Top-Shelf Tip No. 119:

"Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection."

Mark Twain

Five Questions To Ask An Unmotivated Team Member

Sales leaders often must handle motivation problems that crop up in their team. Perhaps someone's quality of work hasn't been up to standard. Or maybe a salesperson doesn't have the enthusiasm they've always had. Whatever might be causing the lack of motivation, it's important for sales leaders to properly address the situation.

Ben Brearley, creator of ThoughtfulLeader, says it's better to have a motivation conversation with employees rather than treating it as a performance conversation. By pointing out the worker's behavior and speaking about how he or she can do better, leaders set the foundation for a constructive conversation. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we highlight five questions to help an unmotivated employee on your team.

1. How do you feel about your work and the team environment? Brearley likes this open-ended question because it sets a foundation for a good discussion. Many of the answers your employee may provide will lead you to further, more specific questions. Instead of asking, "do you like your work," aim to ask an open question that requires a longer response. You can also ask more specific questions about recent changes in your team to find out how your team member is responding to those changes.

2. What parts of your job do you like the most? This positive question focuses on some good aspects of work. It's important that people enjoy at least some of their work. As a leader, when you can understand what your unmotivated team member likes, you may be able to arrange the work so they can do more of those tasks. While you can't turn the world upside down to please this person, you may be able to make some reasonable changes.

3. What do you want to do in the future? Many leaders don't take the time to find out what their people want to do in the future. They are more concerned about getting the work done now. However, Brearley says that an important part of motivation is understanding where your team member wants to be and helping them to get there. You can help them by providing work to build new skills or giving other opportunities for advancement.

4. What frustrates you the most about your work? This is a great question for unlocking some of the bad processes or frustrating interactions within your team member's working life. If you're in the middle of an open conversation, don't be surprised to hear about problems that may be bigger than you or your team. Try not to take it personally if some of the frustration is directed at you. The most important thing is that you're here, and you're trying to make improvements.

5. What do you worry or stress most about at work? This question is designed to uncover areas where your team member may be lacking confidence or lacking the skills to succeed in their role. If you ask directly whether your team member has the skills to do their job, you're likely to scare them. But if you look for sources of stress or worry, you're likely to uncover areas where they feel insecure or where they feel they may be falling short. Once you know what they are, you can look for ways to build their confidence and skills.

If you feel like a team member is struggling with motivation, refer to the five questions above to help get him or her back on track.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Ben Brearley is the creator of ThoughtfulLeader and is a leader, manager, MBA, coach and consultant passionate about developing considerate, thoughtful and effective leaders. Brearley has been leading teams for more than 15 years in many different industries and organizations.

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