Legendary stories abound about locker room oratory as 21st Century coaches channel Knute Rockne to rally the players before heading out on the field for the Championship game.
Yet, if you ask many coaches and athletes what the pre-game speech is like prior to most big games you would learn that the talk was rather subdued and matter of fact, which, for those seeking the ultimate in words of inspirational and motivational wisdom , can be something of a let down.
The reason for this is athletes do not need to get motivated for the championship game, they know what it means to get to that level of success, what the stakes are, and how illegally it is they will have the opportunity to play at that level ever again. By the time these high level athletes reach this stage, if they need strong motivational talks before the most important game of the season, then they do not belong there.
They have already had the strong motivational talks … every step of their career.
Often, you find the real motivational talks take place at key moments along the journey to the big game. It’;s been part of the journey; part of the process. These finely tuned, very experienced athletes can motivate them by the time they reach the top.
The best coaches know when to pull out the motivational talk, when to let the team leaders speak, and when to trust the professionals they hired to motivate themselves. That takes smarts and experience. It sounds easy, but you can get it wrong. Timing is very important.
In 10-years of coaching business leaders it looks that this is probably the number one area they struggle with most trying to maximize motivation from their team of employees.
This leadership communication challenge hovers around what I call the "3 T’;s of Leadership Motivational Communication:"
• Texture (what to say)
• Timing (when to say it) , and most importantly,
• Tone (how to say it)
Even when the 3 T’;s are aligned properly, sometimes its still not enough to deliver the desired results. This is due to other factors in the work environment impacting motivation. Often, there are de-motivators sabotaging the best motivational sessions.
Human motivation is a dicey, sometimes confusing, and always a multi-faceted thing too, many organizational leaders ignore and just keep spewing forth the Rocknesque oratory, with little to show for it in terms of results.
There are six different motivational theories that are always at play in work environments that without a business leader understand, the confusion and frustration will continue.