The Key to Motivation: Constant, Consistent Managerial Communication

Photo illustration by Dreamstime.

A recent post in the Great Leadership blog on The Top 5 Mistakes Leaders Make” is my inspiration for today’s post. I agree with post author Beth Armknecht Miller and appreciate the attention she has called to managerial focus, communication, feedback, goal-setting and motivation.

So much of “good management” falls out of a leader’s ability to consistently, constantly communicate well with members of their teams.

Just this weekend I heard an interesting statistic that in a mere 72 hours you will forget 95 percent of what you hear today. It’s a natural defense mechanism of your brain to parse and “save” only the information it deems most necessary for survival.

In the workplace, that’s unacceptable, of course. Managers cannot rely on “I told you that last week” as reason enough to expect employees to remember and correctly implement instructions given.

Why managers must ALWAYS be communicating

Instead, managers must learn to constantly and consistently communicate with employees – especially about the key objectives to achieve and the acceptable behaviors for achieving those objectives. Don’t be quick to dismiss that second part of the equation – the behaviors. Otherwise, you may end up with employees delivering a project on time, but only doing so by knowingly violating a core value of your organization.

That’s what makes strategic recognition a powerful method for constant and consistent communication of both key goals and desired behaviors. When you encourage all employees to notice and formally express appreciation for their colleagues who live your values while contributing to your key objectives, you are regularly communicating to employees what those objectives and behaviors are. More importantly, you’re making those objectives and behaviors come alive in each employee’s daily work.

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And that is a far more concrete and actionable communication method of sometimes abstract concepts. With a clear path to follow and an understanding of the value of their contributions, employees are far more intrinsically motivated to continue to meet and exceed those expectations.

Do you constantly and consistently communicate and recognize your employees in a way that helps them understand your goals and values? Does your manager communicate in that way with you?

You can find more from Derek Irvine on his Recognize This! blog.

Derek Irvine is senior vice president of client strategy and consulting at Workhuman, where he leads the company’s consulting and analytics divisions. His writing is regularly featured across major HR publications, including HR Magazine, Human Resource Executive, HR Zone, and Workspan.