The old motto 'if you do not work, I fire you' is becoming history now more and more. Today, the business gurus consider that an efficient organization must rely under motivation. The question is: how to make motivation work? How to find out what motivates people?
At the beginning of a new job, I can say that almost everyone is highly motivated. However, according to a survey conducted by institutions like the Harvard Business School, around 85% of the cases, the moral suffer a huge drop after the upcoming 6 months and it will continue to drop, in a slower pace, for the next years. Big part of that, is due to the bad relationship between the managers and the managed ones.
The good news is that, mostly the times just suffice to correct some small attitudes in order to bring the employee's moral up, to make the work environment a better place and the organization to become more efficient. After all happier people produces better and in less time.
And come on, who does not like to be recognized?
Truth must be told, in my career I have heard some times some managers say: why do I have to thank my employee for a well-done job? He is paid for that anyway. Well, that's a huge mistake some will agree with me. As a matter of fact, I can guarantee, sometimes a simple compliment or a touch in his shoulders are powerful motivational agents. Contact. Human beings by nature enjoy contact and interation.
So, if you recognize yourself in this scenario, IMHO, a little piece of advice: do not be a dictator.
Do you want to demotivate the employees in no time? Easy, just enforce a tough and authoritarian leadership. You can't go wrong here, if this is your goal.
Do you want motivate them? Understand that a good leader is not the one who barks louder the orders, but the one who consider that his mission is to lead the people working with him.
Now go there and talk to them.
I have experienced countless times managers (and I've experienced that with some managers that I had), not asking or seeking advice to their employed for a stupid reason called fear. Fear that he might be somehow seen with other eyes, as if he was a semi-god. The employee, in other hand, maybe have some brilliant ideas but do not dare to communicate them.
That's why real leaders left their pride aside and constantly seeks for suggestions from his colleagues. I have an interesting theory and methodology that I use. Sometimes when I lead projects, I find myself in a position that I know exactly what to do and how to do it, but for the good sake of keeping a democratic communication channel I still go asking my managed ones for their suggestions, behind the scenes that's just to enforce the idea that they can approach me freely with ideas. Sometimes they can come up with very good ideas and new paths. Other times I just guide them to reach the idea that I have in mind, so in a sense I give them a feeling of accomplishment. That always works like a charm.
A practice often seen is the information distribution that follow a specific standard or criteria like what you only need to know. I find very disappointing when an employee is not aware about how his work can add value to the company as a whole. My friends, it is easy and I can not be more straight than tha: if an employee does not know the reason of his daily work, he will never wear the company's jersey.
This all sounds great. Now you could be thinking, can any worked be motivated? Honestly, the answer is no. As in life, in any company we always find a small group of people who are in a sense anti-work. They are there just for the money and try to find the less possible. Not only this, but they also avoid those who want to do things right. For these, the answer might be: discipline. A clear talk with them about their attitude and if they do not perform, well then unfortunately the company can not afford. Even so, again we return to the start of this article: communicate.
By Edge Pereira