The psychological effect of words that come from an employer is never underestimated in the art of managing employee motivation. As a manager, the words you use are very important in whatever form of its conveyance, whether as sent emails, spoken in a large group or as an address or speech during a meeting with your employees.
It's also advisable to trim down your words if you're quite uncertain. Saying more when you’re not sure could have a bigger unexpected impact on your staff.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently sent an email to all Tesla staff to motivate them. The message was an encouraging note; congratulating them [the employees] for hitting a long and highly expected production milestone. The goodness at Tesla is that the company has achieved a target of producing 5,000 Tesla Model 3 cars weekly – a milestone Musk had proposed to achieve by the end of the quarter.
Using words to motivate the employees, Elon Musk deeply praised Tesla employees for working with their full creativity and inventiveness in the email. He disclosed how honored he is to work with them as a team and stated that he was proud of their accomplishments. The Tesla boss also announced how production had significantly increased on the Model S and the Model X, hitting their production targets all the same.
The Tesla Model S is an expensive luxury car only affordable to a chunk of the fat pockets, whereas the Tesla Model 3 is a budget-friendly car for an average everyday driver.
Elon Musk then took it a notch higher by including a move aimed at appealing to the sentiment of his staff by even further encouragements, when he said, "I think we just became a real car company." If I were to be an employee at Tesla this statement would have sounded super amazing to me. The statement shows that my employer is really thrilled and happy for an achievement we had all made as a team. Musk’s aim of sending the email filled with carefully crafted and articulated words was to increase employee motivation. He made no vague statements, he didn't assign a new task, he didn't praise the Tesla brand but he only through words made the men and women behind the Tesla brand feel important, appreciated and like great achievers.
Reading those words, an employee would feel celebrated for being a team player in electric car mass production. It sure would feel good to know that a firm where you work can become more legitimate and would soon be spotted in the garage of everyday consumers, not the tech elite. Even though the hyperbolism in that statement cannot be unnoticed as we know that the auto giants like Toyota who turns out from its production lines over 13,000 cars daily, and Ford who boasts of sales amounting to 239,854 units in just a month the previous year. The obviousness of Tesla's stake not rising by the current 5,000 cars per week production rate was visible in Elon Musk saying "I think..." Musk had committed a little blunder here as it would have been better if he had made a bolder statement.
"We just became a real car company." would have been better and made a huge difference, because, the first two words, "I think..." underplays the importance of the team's achievement at Tesla which was being celebrated in the said email.
While addressing your employees you must make a factual declaration, you could say; "We just became the largest oil trading firm in the hemisphere". Then it will sink down into the minds of your employees that your firm, their workplace is the real deal and the best place to offer their services at that point in time. Your words to the employees at all time should be factual, decisive, and sound real. It is better to totally avoid the statement than make you sound indecisive and ambiguous.
(The Summit 2013 - Picture by Dan Taylor / Heisenberg Media)