“To promote cooperation and team work, remember, people tend to resist that which is forced upon them. People tend to support that which they helped create.” -Vince Pfaff
Where have all the motivational practices gone? It appears urge to motivate employees has been washed away with the bad economy. It’s an employers-market and employees are being worked harder than ever. Just the other day one of my clients told me she felt as though she was a number in her workplace. She went on and on about how she never received any positive reinforcement or recognition about her performance nor had she received any positive feedback from her manager on any successful projects she played part in. Needless to say, she was ready to move on.
I discovered at the age of 18 the importance of employee motivation and how productive employees are when they love their job. I had just landed my first office job and I was super excited, but nervous all at the same time. I was so motivated to get in there shine! And then I began to take my first course in the school of hard knocks in the workplace. During my tenure, I watched while my boss (also the owner) yelled and screamed at his employees during the day. He criticized the work they did and how they did it. Nothing was good enough to meet his standards. As a result, team work and cooperation dissolved. I watched as those employees (some of which had been there for over 15 years) packed up and walk out the door till there were just 3 of us left; me, my boss and his wife. I had survived the test.
I didn’t stay because the pay was great, or the opportunity was wonderful. I stayed because, unlike my former colleagues, I was equipped with the ability to separate the meat from the bones. You see, in my mind I thought my boss was a brilliant man. He just failed to effectively communicate his needs and wants. He embodied no concept of what it meant to motivate employees; he was “old school”. He figured that if he paid you for your work, then that was enough. It seems that mind-set has been adopted by many organizations.
Not every employee is motivated by the challenge of poor leadership.
That job taught me a lot. I learned how to see through the message delivery and focus on the substance. Not only did it help me boost my confidence, it helped me learn more about whom I was and what I should expect from management and those in leadership positions in the future.
Good leaders understand the value of effectively communicating and listening to the needs and wants of others. Sure, there are many ways to move production in the workplace without effective communication, but for how long? The value a product creates for the customer is directly linked to the motivation of those employees that deliver it. To secure this, employees must be involved in the process, not told the process.
How do we get employees motivated to produce quality work?
We must ask the right people the right questions. To boost employee motivation we must find the influencers in our organizations and work with them to ensure employees are satisfied, therefore committed and motivated to produce. Policies and procedures enforced from the top down will prove over time to decrease the production of quality work.
The foundation is what matters here. Work from the ground up, meet employees where they are and build with them, not for them.
Mary V. Davids is Principal Consultant at D&M Consulting Services, LLC., and creator of the Honest Model™. Mary has over a decade of experience in cultivating employee engagement, enhancing workplace performance, career coaching, leadership coaching and training & development. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management. To connect with Mary, you can follow her on twitter @MVDavids or you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org