Product Management, Teams

The Power of Believing in Yourself as a Motivator


We’re now into September and the evenings are noticeably beginning to draw in. Me and the Magic Milestones Sales Team are busy with new potential clients, catching up with existing or old contacts and developing a new sales target list to focus on for the next 3 months. Everyone has come back off annual leave excited and focused, and it’s my goal to make sure they stay that way!

As I mentioned in my last blog, getting the team involved in target setting and ensuring that while those targets stretch the team they are still realistic and achievable has made a real difference. Enabling them to have input and be able to discuss their goals with managers, really seems to have helped achieve more team buy in and higher levels of motivation.

So what now – how can I (and the rest of the Senior Management Team) try and maintain these levels of energy and enthusiasm? The next step is to keep our team motivated and get them into a positive upward sales cycle.

Well you know I like my theories so here it goes! Self Efficacy Theory- simplistically is an individual’s belief that they are capable of performing a task. Bandura (1997) states that ‘Self-efficacy beliefs regulate human functioning through cognitive, motivational, affective, and decisional processes’ (Bandura & Locke 2003 pg 87). In essence, the higher the self-efficacy of an individual, the more confidence they have in their ability to succeed and in turn the more likely they become to achieve success. They are also more likely to respond positively to negative feedback.

It’s critical to note, Managers and Team Leaders can have an important role to play in achieving high levels of self-efficacy which coupled with the Pygmalion effect (a form of self-fulfilling prophecy) could start to make a big difference to a team’s results, especially those in sales. If a Manager shows they believe in their staff or their team’s ability this can lead to self-belief, and therefore creating the right mindset for them to achieve their set goals. Coupled with ongoing feedback and regular meetings around planning and goal strategy this theory continuously gives great results.

Similarly to the self-efficacy theory, Victor Vrooms’ Expectancy Theory (1964),‘argues that the strength of our tendency to act in certain ways depends on our strength of our expectation of a given outcome and attractiveness focusing on three relationships’: (Robbins & Judge 2015 pg 237)

    1. Effort – performance relationship
    2. Performance – reward relationship
    3. Rewards – personal goals relationship

Although there are many theorists that have criticised Vroom arguing that not many individuals see direct links between effort, performance and rewards, many organisations reward individuals for seniority and skill level rather than performance.

This could well make it an invalid motivational theory for many teams, but in the case of Sales Teams it might just be worth some consideration. If a Sales Team earns commission as part of their package, then the level of commission will almost always be related to their achievements. So here we can see the direct link between effort, performance and rewards. What we must consider for the expectancy theory to really have an impact on a team as a motivator, is that the team must see the rewards as desired and at an appropriate level. If targets are being hit but the reward is perceived to be too low for the effort invested in achieving it, motivation will be more likely to reduce than increase.

The Magic Milestones Sales Team seem happy and bought into their agreed targets, and they are really working hard to hit and even exceed them! I now need to make sure that they really believe in themselves and their abilities. So this week I am discussing with the rest of the Senior Management Team how we can implement ongoing feedback and support to help them believe in themselves and their ability.

The mention of rewards as a motivator brings us nicely onto the theme for next week’s blog. I hope to be able to report that our Sales Teams motivation is still high and they are full of self-belief! 😉

By Helen Milanes Tidmarsh

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