There’s an endless list: More money? Promotion? An overseas trip? Power? Personal satisfaction? simple thank you? – What fires motivation in you?
Maybe all or none of the above, but one thing is for sure, all the tools and tricks of the motivator aren’t likely to inspire you to an increased and prolonged motivation level alone – it’s self-image that matters.
Whatever pushes your button is likely to be very different from what drives the person sitting next to you. It’s also likely that there is someone in your organisation or externally who is assigned to act as your motivator. But how well does your motivator know you? How well do you know yourself and what picture do you hold of yourself in the workplace in the future? There could be some self-realisation and serious maintenance to be done before you are able to grow and move forward.
According to John Donoghue performance psychology coach, motivation is only temporary emotive action which usually has no real lasting effect nor does it make permanent changes. He says that during the past five years his extensive research throughout large multinational corporations and medium sized businesses both in New Zealand and overseas, has shown that 90 percent of companies found that within four to six months of undergoing motivation programme, 85 percent of their staff had reverted to normal patterns of behaviour and work performance.
“The psychology behind this gives the reasons. person’s performance and behaviour will always be consistent with the picture they hold of themselves – ie their self-image. So if sales person could never imagine themselves as top sales person and being number one in the company, then all the motivational tapes, books and seminars won’t really change them very much,” says Donoghue.
Jim Collings, Australasian group general manager for David Forman International, says although human beings have been around long time, our basic drives and motivations have changed very little. He says physical and survival needs, security and safety, social drive, ego or self esteem and self realisation need to be in place before growth can occur.
“Few of us, if any, are entirely dominated by one drive. We can predict people’s behaviour because it is apparent in the drives they have. If you are talking about measuring motivation – yes, motivation improves outcomes. As you improve the fulfilment of each drive you will improve the person’s motivation and therefore drive greater performance.
Liz Wotherspoon, who works as team leader for TMP Worldwide (formerly Morgan & Banks Consulting) in the assessment and development division quotes the three-circled snowman example where the head is the intellectual part, the middle the emotional section and the bottom the place where the beliefs of self and the world are held. “Training can often get down to the emotional level but rarely goes deep enough to change beliefs and where motivation is concerned that is pretty crucial,” says Wotherspoon.
Fellow consultant Anne-Marie Prescott says “we assist people to be good leaders and to be led well and I believe it boils down to the question, ?can you as leader create intrinsic motivation in your workforce?’
“No you can’t – but you can create series of conditions in which they can develop. We allow clarity of perspective to help them see how much they are being inhibited from achieving full potential,” says Prescott.
Wotherspoon: “People want to know what is expected of them. It is important that the expectations are really clear, that there is level of choice around what and how they do their job and that they are also involved in decisions that impact on them. Everyone is motivated by something – even those doing the most boring, mundane tasks. And they can take pleasure if it is linked to higher purpose. As leaders we have to respect everyone in every role and be aware of communicating the vision so everyone feels part of that higher purpose.
Shaun Bowler, registered psychologist says that because people have different motivations in different environments, the skill of manager is understanding each person and creating an environment flexible enough to allow expression and achievement of different things. “For example if you were to pay your factory workers extra money for every 10 more items they produced this would fall down where you had someone not motivated by money. If they were the sort of person who was anxious to do good job and felt quality would be affected – the person would become demotivated,” says Bowler.
“There are individuals who will perform well in any role in any organisation. They need to as part of their self respect. They believe in quality and responsibility and want to do good job. But others believe they should only work hard if they are paid well and so are extrinsic. Intrinsic people may not work any better with more money and in fact paying them less may not make much difference. But they need to ask if they’re going to be recognised for their quality and is the organisation going to be good for them and allow them to grow?” he says.
Charles Donoghue believes the greatest thing leader can give someone is to lift that person to higher ground through proper coaching and edification. “Leadership is really about mastering communication, coaching, encouraging and inspiring others to achieve outstanding performance. Unfortunately research has shown that leaders fail because of ego problems, insecurity, critical personality and wrong sense of purpose. This latter failing is often duplicated to other staff,” he says.
If manager or team leader has communication or interpersonal (behavioural limitations or problems) they are not likely to move forward, says Donoghue.
He says an American survey which covered the reasons why people at managerial level had been sacked showed that 90 percent of the 4000 interviewed were forced to leave their jobs because they did not get on with other people.
He quotes the case of Christchurch company where all staff including the factory production workers participated in programme. “Within one week the production output rose to the highest level in 20 years. Why? Because the people felt better about themselves, their job and the importance of the role they played without restricting who and what they could be in the future. The programme also included people skills and as result they are communicating better than they were previously,” says Donoghue.
Vision and new direction is something that Tony Skelton, general manager of ACE Training, has had to embrace. As one of New Zealand’s oldest computer training companies, totally New Zealand owned and among small few with completely national base, ACE has had to move and develop within the rapidly changing field of computer technology.
Uniquely the company trains in both IBM and Microsoft programs and now offers the latest CIW (certified internet webmaster) courses. The motivation, says Skelton, is to give people very tangible internationally acceptable qualification which is of prime importance in today’s heavily mobile workforce.
“People before strategy” is the orientation of the HayGroup according to the company’s senior consultant Maree Smith. The company has put together performance model which she says represents an intention to engage the person with the business.
“There are two questions every organisation needs to ask itself. Why should the best people choose to work for us and how do we need to treat them to ensure they are engaged with the business and deliver high performance. Organisations’ employee relationships must fulfil basic human needs – these are connection to something meaningful, sense of purpose, shared values and sense of unity, recognition of the individual as someone special and unique, feeling of support, challenge and chance for growth and opportunities for advancement. Tangible rewards – pay, salar
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