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Spark a fire: Motivate procrastinators and introverts

(ThinkStock)

(ThinkStock)

Being a manager would be easy — if only people weren’t so different.  

Motivating an introverted employee takes a different touch than, say, rousing a procrastinator or encouraging high-fliers to keep climbing. This week, several LinkedIn Influencers weighed in on managing and motivating different types of employees

Here’s what some of them had to say.

Dr Marla Gottschalk, practice manager at Rand Gottschalk & Associates LLC

Introverts are among the toughest types of employees to manage. Many supervisors hold misconceptions about these quiet types that can lead to bad management decisions, wrote Gottschalk in her post How Not to Manage an Introvert.

“While many people confuse being introverted with shyness, introversion is, in fact, about how an individual handles stimulation and processes information,” she wrote. Introverts “require a slightly different set of workplace conditions to excel,” she wrote. But, becoming more sensitive to their needs isn’t difficult.

Among the things Gottschalk warned managers should keep in mind:

Don’t publicly recognise introverts. “Stop yourself. Really. Many introverts would rather jump off a cliff than have attention shifted in their direction without notice. If they are about to receive an award or accolade, let them know what you are planning ahead of time,” she wrote. “They’ll appreciate the gesture and have time to prepare.”

Don’t assume they have nothing to say. “By nature introverts can be less likely to share their thoughts, which makes it even more important to open the lines of communication regularly. Send them an e-mail, asking how their projects are progressing. Set up a weekly ‘touch base’ meeting. They can reflect on their work and respond fully on their own terms,” she wrote.

Introverts can lead. “Recent research has shown that introverts are more open to differences in opinion than their extroverted colleagues. As a result, they are more likely to make informed decisions,” Gottschalk wrote.

Jack Welch, Executive Chairman at Jack Welch Management Institute

“If you're a leader, you know that lighting a constant motivational fire under your people is one of your biggest jobs,” wrote Welch in his post Four Sure-Fire Ways to Motivate Your People. The obvious and most effective incentive is money, he wrote. But, “what else can you do to keep your people pumped to over-deliver? Plenty,” he wrote.

Welch offered four non-monetary ideas to motivate employees. Among them:

“The first is easy: recognition. When an individual or a team does something notable, make a big deal of it. Announce it publicly, talk about it at every opportunity. Hand out awards,” Welch wrote. But skip engraved plaques. “Plaques gather dust. Checks can be cashed. And employees know the difference in their bones,” he wrote.

Another tool is celebration, wrote Welch.

“We're not talking about celebrating just the big wins,” Welch wrote. “We mean marking milestones, such as an important order or a new way to increase productivity.” Managers should use these small successes “to congratulate the team and boost spirits for the challenges ahead.”

“Celebrations don't need to be fancy,” Welch cautioned. “They're really just another form of recognition, but with more fun involved. Like rolling out a surprise keg one afternoon, tickets to a ball game, or sending a couple of high performers and their families to Disney World.”

One thing a celebration is not? “It's not dinner with you. Almost nothing strikes terror into the hearts of employees more than a boss saying: ‘Great job! I'm taking everyone to Mama Maria's tonight.’"

Gary Vaynerchuk, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Vayner Media

Procrastinators — even if they are superstars in the office — can be a manager’s worst nightmare. Will they deliver? Will it be on time? Will it be quality?

Vaynerchuk offered hints for motivating these slow pokes in his post How to Talk to Procrastinators.

“Ask them the honest questions about what actually motivates them. And don’t judge them solely based on being procrastinators,” he wrote. As a self-proclaimed procrastinator himself, Vaynerchuk wrote that he, himself, did “pretty well”.

“There is a difference between a procrastinator who executes and one who doesn’t,” he wrote. “Judging how someone gets to the finish line is the wrong way to think about it, so long as they’re getting there. Some people enjoy the pressure of cramming the night before the test.”

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