Why Managerial Motivation is a Waste of Time
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Why Managerial Motivation is a Waste of Time

Contrary to what most people seem to believe, there is no “Boss” on this planet who can motivate a member of staff – the truth is that motivation per se, must come from within. Nobody “does” or casts a motivation spell on somebody else.

Contrary to what most people seem to believe, there is no “Boss” on this planet who can motivate a member of staff – the truth is that motivation per se, must come from within. Nobody “does” or casts a motivation spell on somebody else.

EnvironmentWhat a really good boss can do is to create an environment which is conducive to employees feeling motivated enough to deliver a sterling performance. Once that foundation has been established, the manager must be adept at guiding this powerful, underrated force, to maximise the human potential for a positive outcome. The approach to utilising this behemoth has its limitations though, because, injudiciously applied can be misconstrued as an attempt at subtle manipulation.

What is the solution for ambitious managers to this potential dilemma?

The KEY is being able to really understand what motivation means at a psychological level

Spin a coin, and you will arrive at one of the two roots of motivation when it lands – one side is fear, and the other is love. Why do people go out to work day in and day out? Many will do so simply because they fear what will happen to every aspect of their lives if they do not draw a monthly paycheck. The obverse represents the people who go out to work because they genuinely love their jobs, the sense of real achievement it brings, hand-in-hand with the sense of camaraderie with co-workers.

Here is a simple 6-point plan a manager can implement to make this all possible:

1. Learn to LIKE people

  • LISTEN respectfully to what people say
  • FOCUS on each individual as a real person
  • FAMILIARIZE yourself with employees lives
  • RECOGNIZE each individual's contribution
  • PROMOTE relaxed and trusting realtionships

2. Encourage a genuine TEAM spirit

  • Take a genuine interest in each person's perspectives
  • Delegate tasks in a way that addresses specific individual talents
  • Cement the variety of talents on the team by finding ways of connecting them in some way, so that one person's performance depends on that of another member of the team
  • Encourage each team member to make decisions in their area of performance that will impact on the overall outcome in some way – however small.
  • Cater for some, preferably measurable, short-term achievements so that the small victories will excite, and then perpetuate the team enthusiasm.

3. Reward results

  • Give praise unstintingly when it is due
  • Make each individual responsible for their job
  • Make each person aware of what reward, specifically, they can expect
  • Don't make the reward tasks TOO easy – people must stretch themselves
  • Spell out exactly what effort is required for a specific reward

4. Lead by Example

Always, always practice what you preach, and set yourself a very high standard. That means you must be:

  • Motivated yourself
  • Energetic
  • Animated
  • Zestful
  • Sparkling
  • Expecting the best – and you will get it!

5. The doors of opportunity are marked 'PUSH'

Although the doors may be labelled 'PUSH' – the manager's job is to point them out, as:

  • Achievement
  • Problem solving
  • Sharing
  • Recognition
  • Financial

Images by courtesy of: Stock.xchnge

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Comments (8)

Great article Colin. Managing people is no easy task and your tips are very helpful.

Another insightful read, Colin.

I really enjoyed this article. Thank you for sharing this article.

Many thanks Sourav - for YOUR motivation :-)

Very insightful piece, Colin. Motivation is definitely one of those things that has to come from within. A person can get all fired up after attending a motivational seminar, for example, but action thereafter lies soley with the individual. I loved points 4 & 5... so very true.

Thanks Sharla - you always seem to get me thinking, and looking back on what I've written myself :-)

I can vouch for everything you said in this article, Colin. I held a management position with a large, niche publishing house, for many years and motivating my team was always one of my biggest challenges.

Thanks Jerry - as a mine manager my best "team" was a group of Copper Miners in the erstwhile Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) where sport on a Thursday was "compulsory" across the board - more obligatory really, and the bonhomie was tangible across the mining property.