Rule 1 of Management: Get Them Emotionally Involved
"Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed."
—Vaclav Havel, President of the Czech Republic
You manage people. People who are paid to do a job. But if it is "just a job" to them, you'll never get their best. If they come to work looking to clock in and clock out and do as little as they can get away with in between, then you're doomed to failure, my friend. On the other hand, if they come to work looking to enjoy themselves, looking to be stretched, challenged, inspired, and to get involved, then you have a big chance of getting the very best out of them. Trouble is, the jump from drudge to super team is entirely up to you. It is you who has to inspire them, lead them, motivate them, challenge them, get them emotionally involved.
That's okay. You like a challenge yourself, don't you? The good news is that getting a team emotionally involved is easy. All you have to do is make them care about what they are doing. And that's easy too. You have to get them to see the relevance of what they are doing, how it makes an impact on people's lives, how they provide for the needs of other human beings, how they can reach out and touch people by what they do at work. Get them convinced—because it is true—that what they do makes a difference, that it contributes to society in some way other than filling the owner's or shareholders' pockets, or ensures that the chief executive gets a big fat paycheck.
And yes, I know it's easier to show how they contribute if you manage nurses rather than an advertising sales team, but if you think about it, then you can find value in any role and instill pride in those who do whatever job it is. Prove it? Okay. Well, those who sell advertising space are helping other companies, some of which may be very small, reach their markets. They are alerting potential customers to things they may have wanted for a long time and may really need. They are keeping the newspaper or magazine afloat because it relies on ad sales income, and that magazine or newspaper delivers information and/or gives pleasure to the people who buy it (otherwise they wouldn't, would they?).
Get them to care because that's an easy thing to do. Look, this is a given. Everyone deep down wants to be valued and to be useful. The cynics will say this is nonsense, but it is true, deep down true. All you have to do is reach down far enough and you will find feeling, concern, responsibility, and involvement. Drag all that stuff up and they'll follow you forever and not even realize why.
Oh, just make sure that you've convinced yourself first before you try this out on your team. Do you believe that what you do makes a positive difference? If you're not sure, reach down, deep down, and find a way to care.
"GET THEM CONVINCED—BECAUSE IT IS TRUE—THAT WHAT THEY DO MAKES A DIFFERENCE."