A principal role of managers is to achieve company objectives through an engaged and motivated workforce. Comprehending human nature is the key to successfully motivating employees, an approach which will also produce effective leadership and management from those applying such understanding. A great body of research shows that well-motivated employees are more productive and creative, and it is also notable that the opposite holds true.
Motivation is the key to performance improvement
People are driven by their needs and wants, and it is essential to motivate or drive them either from within themselves or through external stimulus. There are several overarching approaches to achieving motivation:
• Positive reinforcement/high expectations
• Effective discipline and punishment
• Treating people fairly
• Satisfying employee needs
• Setting work-related goals
• Restructuring jobs
• Performance-related rewards
These strategies are used to move the employee further along the desired path to achieving the performance level desired.
Key Motivation Approaches
‘Carrot’ and ‘Stick’
A well-known phrase, with ‘stick’ (punishment) often producing negative results and a critical attitude to management, with ‘carrot’ (reward) proven to lead to greater happiness with work.
This comprises of a number of options at the manager’s disposal which are applied both to teams and to individuals:
• Appreciation, acclaim and recognition
• Trust, admiration and faith in ability
• Loyalty, which is reciprocal
• Removing obstacles to individual and team performance
• Job enhancement
• Good communication
• Financial incentives
These are listed in order of the most effective and it may be surprising to note that financial rewards are further down.
Use encouragement instead of pressure
Encouragement is a far superior tool to coercion. It builds morale, encourages creativity and draws inspiration, with a negative approach damaging these qualities.
Encouragement comprises of:
• Employing positive emotion
• Appealing to logic
An individual once convinced through this approach becomes motivated to raise the standard of work, all achieved through a softly-softly approach, all without any overexertion required.
Motivation of personnel is absolutely crucial to achieve any goal an organisation sets out to accomplish, but with each individual distinct and complex in their own right, motivation is by no means simple and straightforward. To do so requires careful and tailored management, which is realised through employing different sets of tools uniquely tailored person by person, as well as collectively to a team.