Managers face a motivation dilemma. Their organizations insiste that they to motivate their subordinate to work hard to meet the corporate goals. Unfortunately, since no one can motivate another person which is an impossible task to do.
That’s the dilemma.
Executives and managers who want to understand motivation should and must understand the “appraisal process”.
Employees appraise things according to what important to them and their priorities might differ from that of their managers and corporate leaders.
So, the factors which motivate employees may not align with what we want them to be motivated toward accomplishing. The goals that drive their motivation may not be akin to the objectives which we want to encourage.
“It is a mistake to think that people are not motivated. They are simply longing for the needs they cannot name.”
In 2002, the Boston Red Sox wanted to lure Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane to come work for them. And they offered him then what would have been the largest GM salary in baseball. They were shocked when he turned it down. But Beane appraised the offer against what mattered to him – “his family and the love of baseball.”
“The real story of motivating is that people are learners who long to grow, enjoy their work, be productive, make positive contributions and build lasting relationships.”
And in case of Beane, he never cared about money, so the Red Sox’s huge salary offer meant little to him. They couldn’t motivate him because he was already motivated, but in different way than the Red Sox wanted.
This is always the proble when we try to motivate people. They already are motivated but sometimes in ways we may not like.
However, we want our employees’ individual motivations to align with our organization’s goal. But now we understand that trying to leverage “motivational forces” to compel people to do as we want won’t work.
So, how can we align their goals and the company’s goals?
“It is time to stop beating our people with carrots-and-sticks and embrace different, more effective leadership strategies.”
First, understand that our employees are learners, they want to do well, they want to make solid contributions and they want their organization’s executives to think well of them. They also want to have “autonomy, relatedness and competence ” or ARC, which is the essential psychological needs.
“Rewards may help people initiate new and healthy behaviors, but they fail miserably in helping people maintain their progress or sustain results.”
Instead of offering contests or prizes, encourage your employees by enabling them to gain autonomy. That’s the secret to motivation.
Offer independence and relate to them as human beings. Help them to grow professionally and personally. Don’t worry about what they can do for you, but rather worry about what you can do for them.
In that environment, your employees will become more motivated to perform better.
When you offer autonomy, related to them and encourage their competence, and they will respond.
That’s simple human nature.