If you are honest, you are probably thinking right now about how to motivate some or many of your employees. Maybe you’ve tried the common quick fixes such as motivational speakers, group outings, training, team-building exercises, changing compensation programs, adjusting organization structure, adjusting the office space, and other such low-impact maneuvers. You may see some mediocre results but they will be short-term and unsustainable. I am sure you will not be surprised to hear that continuing to throw the same old solutions at motivation problems will not suddenly yield better results. I suggest that you first define your problem correctly and then decide if you are willing to do what it takes to solve it.
The reality is that the research and facts have long been right in front of you. Lack of motivation begins within leadership and management ranks. Basically, if people are not motivated it is because leadership and management have not created an environment that is conducive to motivation. The real issue is is how to stop destroying motivation.
Most people come to a new position motivated. They do not find a job and say to themselves “let’s go screw up.” Think about the normal energy and vigor someone starts their new job with. It is great new world! They cannot wait to make their mark, have an impact, make good impressions, and do a good job. They already know their pay plan, have accepted it, were motivated to come to work for you based on it, and were ready to do that job. So if they are no longer motivated, leadership and management screwed up.
While pay, benefits and working conditions are important, research shows that they have no long-term effects on motivation. The things that do have an effect are recognition, sense of achievement, growth, participation, challenge and identification with the company’s goals and vision. When working with leadership teams I find the real problem is that leadership is destroying motivation. Here are some examples:
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