Gordon Wainwright is an independent management training consultant. He has written several books on management communication skills, including 'Read Faster, Recall More' (also published by How To Books) and runs courses for a wide range of organisations, including multinationals and government departments.
If you are to change yourself from a headless chicken to a laidback bear, you have to be motivated to do it. You need to be convinced of the desirability of self-motivation. This chapter should help you to achieve this. You may also want to motivate others, perhaps family members or workmates. This chapter should help you to achieve this as well.
Better motivation will encourage faster and better use of the techniques you learned in Part 1 of this book. It will help you to get action now and to avoid procrastination.
Analysis of the process of motivation suggests four things that you can do to improve your ability to motivate yourself and others.
Firstly, try to understand what your needs are or the needs of your subordinates in terms of security, social esteem, self-fulfilment:
- 1.Find out not only what you or they need but also what you or they want. You may not be able to achieve it easily, if at all, but you might at least be able to modify your approach to motivation in the light of this knowledge.
- 2.Use financial rewards as a prime motivator. Money is important because it satisfies so many needs. It provides what people want to increase their standard of living, but it also serves as the most effective way of recognising achievement (self-fulfilment) and enabling people to demonstrate their achievement to others (social esteem).
- 3.Bear in mind, however, that money is not the only reward that people need and want. They can also be motivated by recognition, praise, promotion and the work itself through the opportunity to achieve something extra or to take on greater responsibility. This sort of reward can sometimes be more effective than money. It depends on individual needs and the reason you should try to identify those needs, in yourself and others is that you can then be more discriminating in the use of rewards.
Secondly, remember the importance of expectations as an influence on motivation. A reward will be much more effective when people know what they can get if they work hard and well enough. You should therefore:
- 1.Ensure that the relationship between effort and reward is clearly defined in any financial reward system.
- 2.Set targets and standards which are achievable, but not too easily.
- 3.Make yourself and others aware that achievements will be recognised by praise, a special reward or the opportunity to do better. Do not cheapen the reward. Give praise only when it is due.
- 4.Make it known, as far as possible, what you or other people have to do to gain promotion or take on greater responsibility.
- 5.Spell out not only what you or they can get if they do well but also what you or they will not get if they do badly. This is not intended to be a crude carrot-and-stick tactic but a clarification of the fact that what people achieve or do not achieve is up to them.
Thirdly, if you are mainly concerned with motivating others and persuading them to adopt a laidback bear approach, you should always keep in mind that your aim is the creation of conditions such that people can achieve their own goals best by directing their efforts towards the success of the enterprise. Hence the value of:
- 1.Identifying people’s needs, so that you can try to adjust rewards to meet those needs.
- 2.Getting people to think for themselves about what they can and should do, and agreeing targets and standards with them.
- 3.Recognising the fact that people can be motivated by the work itself if it satisfies their needs for responsibility and achievement. Do this by using the following job-enrichment techniques:
- increasing the responsibility of individuals
- giving people more scope to vary the methods, sequence and pace of their work
- giving a person or group a complete natural unit of work, thus reducing specialisation
- removing some controls from above, while ensuring that individuals or groups are clearly accountable for achieving defined targets or standards
- giving people the control information needed to monitor their own performance
- encouraging the participation of employees in planning work and innovating techniques
- assigning projects to individuals or groups which give them more responsibility and help them to increase their expertise.
Lastly, remember that group pressures can affect motivation, for good or ill. Take steps to get groups on your side by involving them in key decisions which affect their work.