QLeadership Series – They do it for themselves!

As a manager, if you really want to influence people’s motivation, you have to uncover their reasons for doing things. You have to question their purposes and their causes. People aren’t going to be truly motivated for your reasons and objectives. Employees as themselves, “What’s in it for me?” Knowing this upfront, it’s your responsibility to find out what your employees’ motives are, then help them connect those motives to your organization’s goals and activities. When you do this, you also will be positively affecting each worker’s performance on the job.

How do you know that you are doing this well? You’ll know when your employees start asking the question, “What’s in it for us?” By looking out for your people and their best interests, your employees will begin to see that looking out for others and the organization as a, whole is how they ultimately look out for themselves. Sure, it can make some time for this to happen, but if you persist, employees will see the light and it will be worth the wait.

Most managers attempt to influence employee motivation using both positive and negative approaches. As a manager or supervisor, it is important that you understand clearly the three very different techniques used to influence the motivation of people in today’s workforce, and, thereby, evaluate their pros and their cons. By studying the three primary ways leaders use to influence their workers, you will find greater opportunity to lead and bring about more positive results when it •comes to uncovering your worker’s intrinsic motivators.

Here’s what works and doesn’t work in positively influencing employee motivation:

Fear and manipulation don’t work very well: When workers are motivated by fear and manipulation, they are not so much trying to achieve something as they are looking to avoid losing their jobs. This approach often leads to resentment of managers by employees, which then undermines communication and   cooperation.   The results of trying to scare employees to perform also typically won’t last and eventually will almost always backfire on the organization and its managers.

The carrot on a stick seldom works well: Also known as incentive motivation-this technique can also eventually undermine performance. Sure, people will temporarily work harder to get the reward but what happens afterwards? You will have to keep coming up with new and better rewards-sweeter carrots-because your employees will expect more and more to go beyond the minimum work required.

Set up an approach that promotes personal growth and purpose: What you want to do is help employees appreciate that they have something to contribute and you want to help them do that. When you emphasize personal growth and development as a way to influence employee motivation, not only do you help employees maximize their contribution, you also are improving the productivity of the company. It’s a win for everyone.

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we can be.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

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