By Holly Mitchell

When I owned my small business in Boise, Idaho, I decided to run an incentive program amongst my sales team to help them be more goal oriented and to drive sales. I told them that the first person to reach sales of $25,000 for the month would be celebrated with a spa day provided by the company. I encouraged the team members to text the group every time they made a big sale, in the hopes of motivating everyone to compete.

This was a tactic that had worked for me in my own sales career over the years. As a highly self-motivated person, I am always energized by others’ success. What I didn’t realize at the time is that this tactic doesn’t work for everyone. In fact, it did the exact opposite for one of my employees. She didn’t say anything for quite some time and even participated in the group text. However, one afternoon she came into my office completely in tears. She told me that the contest wasn’t helping her. It made her feel inadequate and had even decreased her motivation.

This was the point when I realized that I needed to step back, as a manager and a coach, and take steps to truly understand what my employees needed. I needed to know what motivated them as individuals to be successful and what would help them enjoy their careers.  This led me to learn more about leadership development and behavioral assessments.

Behavior research suggests that the most effective people are those who understand themselves as it relates to their strengths and weaknesses—and understand the “why” behind how they naturally behave. The more self-awareness a person has, the better he or she can adapt to changing environments. This is critical to understand if you are an influencer or a manager of people. Just as I described above, if you don’t understand your employees’ “why” is or their strengths that fit their job demands, then you are at risk of conflict and loss of effectiveness. 

Luckily, behavior and talent assessments are great tools to help leaders navigate their employees’ behavior styles and motivators. This is ultimately a cheat sheet to understand how work with our teams most effectively and quickly!  With an assessment, you can easily identify the following;

  • Are this employee’s strengths being enhanced in their current role?
  • Are our current incentives motivating our employees to gain results?
  • Is the team communicating effectively and efficiently together?
  • Are we providing the right kind of leadership development and growth to keep our employees long term?

The TriMetrix ® HD Assessment from TTI also gives tools for managing employees, essentially providing a set of requirements that must be in order for them to perform at their optimal level. It helps identify aspects that the employee can work on, and those that management can help support.

The employee from my story above needed affirmation and praise from me. She needed to know that she was valued and appreciated. I was focused on the “win” and motivation from creating sales goals didn’t work at all for her behavior style.

It can be difficult for employees to feel motivated if their needs are not being met. This could be something like creating a harmonious environment or making sure the employee has all the resources required to be effective in his or her current role. Your employee could be motivated by working closely with others, yet eth current work environment leaves them isolated and working independently throughout each day.   

Part of being a great manager is taking the time to understand the innate needs of your employees and identify their strengths, so that you can create sustained success within your company. Using TTI Assessments is a proven method to help efficiency meet effectiveness within your teams.

To talk to Holly about coaching, sales or assessments, write to her at