Leadership: How to Have a Motivated Staff

“So what is the best way to have a motivated staff?” asked Natalie in earnest.

“Well, since you ask,” I said, “there are lots of ways that you can improve the motivation of your staff, but honestly there are really only two ways to have a motivated staff.”

I have been a successful senior leader for over 20 years and have learned much about motivating staff and team building. Natalie, my director of respiratory therapy was wide-eyed. She nodded trying to coax the answer from my lips. Natalie was a very motivated employee. She worked hard, was forever trying to improve her departmental performance, and was genuinely a happy person. She was a joy to work with. “Well,” I said savoring the moment, “The first way is to hire motivated people.” It wasn’t rocket science.

Her eyebrows pulled together. “Hire motivated people?” she questioned allowed a bit incredulous.

“Yes,” I affirmed. “Honestly, I believe that people are motivated or they are not. Sure you can help by holding people accountable, encouraging, acting as a coach, and any number of often written about motivational techniques, but if you want a motivated staff, simply hire it. You know employees that you have that are motivated. You barely have to pay attention to them. They are doing their jobs, solving problems, and a lot of time engaging in other activities that help their department and ultimately the hospital.”

“That’s interesting,” Natalie said nodding her head. “By the way,” she said, “I forgot to ask you how you were doing. I haven’t seen you in a week or so, and I have missed our regular talks.”

“I am sorry,” I said apologetically. “I have been engaged in an emergency department project. I have not been lax with some of my departments. Are you having a problem?”

“Not really,” she said. “In fact I have discovered that I have some employees that are not properly trained in use of the EEG machine. As you can guess, we have not been as efficient as we could have been. I re-trained the staff that needed it, and our numbers are already starting to improve. It’s really been an amazing process. I have one or two people that don’t seem to get it; that’s why I asked you about motivating staff. They just don’t seem to get it.”

I nodded in understanding. “Sometimes it can take longer for some.”

“Yeah, I guess,” she answered. “But you said to hire motivated staff and I guess I am a little late for that.”

I nodded again.

“But you said there was two ways to have a motivated staff. I get that the first way is to hire motivated people, but what is the second way?”

“Get rid of unmotivated staff,” I answered.

“A bit harsh, don’t you think?”

“Maybe,” I said, “but you asked me what the best ways were to have a motivated staff. I answered. It is up to you what to do with the information.” I smiled broadly at her.

“Great,” she laughed. “I think I will try and work with them a bit more.”

“It’s up to you. Let me know if I can be of any help with that,” I said. “I will be happy to discuss other means of holding people accountable and supporting them.

“Thanks,” Natalie answered.

“Have a great day,” I said and moved on down the hallway.

Thanks for reading,

J. Pullman

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