Motivation … some tools!

Motivating AssociatesMotivation is a theoretical construct used to explain behavior. It represents the reasons for people’s actions, desires, and needs. Motivation can also be defined as one’s direction to behavior or what causes a person to want to repeat a behavior and vice versa.

A motive is what prompts the person to act in a certain way or at least develop an inclination for specific behavior. For example, when someone eats food to satisfy the need of hunger, or when a student does his/her work in school because he/she wants a good grade. Both show a similar connection between what we do and why we do it. Motivation is a word that is part of the popular culture as few other psychological concepts are. Hunger is frequently the motive for seeking out and consuming food.

The control of motivation is only understood to a limited extent. There are many different approaches of motivation training, but many of these are considered pseudo-scientific by critics. To understand how to control motivation it is first necessary to understand why many people lack motivation.

Team Motivation
Teams and team members in any organization need something to keep them working. Often, the salary of the employee is enough to keep him or her working for an organization. An employee must be motivated to work for a company or organization. If no motivation is present in an employee, then that employee’s quality of work or all work in general will deteriorate. Personalities differ with regard to beliefs about the factors that control their behavior.

Some believe that opportunity to control their own behavior rests within themselves while others believe that external forces determine their behavior. General motivational strategies include the soft sell and the hard sell. Both strategies can be valid based on the intended audience. Specific motivational appeals must focus on provable facts, feelings, rewards or punishment.

Motivational Factors

There are some qualities of a job or team membership that motivate associates. A review of decades of research has shown that every job offers some of the listed motivation factors. Associates are motivated to the extent that their job contains the factors that they seek to keep them operating at the optimal performance level.

Listed below are many common motivational factors. These should be helpful in helping you to discover what motivates your team or its members:

Achievement – Meeting increasing work challenges
Center of attention – Working on high-profile assignments
Challenging work – Working on difficult or demanding tasks requiring substantial effort and commitment
Coaching others – Fostering other people’s job-related development
Commission – Working under a pay structure in which part of one’s income depends on measurable performance or commission sales
Compensation – Receiving a high salary or generous monetary compensation or stock options for work
Complexity – Performing complex tasks or working on complex projects
Continuous learning – Increasing knowledge and skill when circumstances call for additional learning
Details – Working on tasks requiring great attention to details
Entrepreneurialism – Developing business by seeking new opportunities, taking risks, and initiating new ventures
Formal recognition – Receiving formal recognition, inside and outside the organization, for accomplishments
High-involvement leader – Influencing others by creating a participative, empowered environment
High-involvement member – Working in a participative, empowered environment
High responsibility / accountability – Receiving primary responsibility and accountability for completing tasks that might place heavy demands on one’s time and involvement
Influencing others – Using appropriate interpersonal styles and methods to inspire and guide individuals; gaining acceptance of ideas or plans
International exposure – Working with situations involving different cultures or languages, and responding to the ambiguity of unexpected or unfamiliar approaches
Interpersonal support – Receiving regular and abundant emotional support, reassurances, and gestures of appreciation
Physical environment – Working in a physically comfortable and attractive environment
Position or status – Holding a position with a highly respected title or status relative to others in the organization
Practical results – Performing work that results in concrete outputs or outcomes
Promotion opportunities – Earning positions of greater responsibility and status
Recognition for expertise – Receiving reward or recognition for expertise in a technical or other specialized skill area
Relationship building – Developing and maintaining ongoing working relationships with others requiring interaction and mutual support
Standardized work – Performing clearly defined, stable work assignments with pre-established goals and procedures
Task variety – Working on several different tasks or projects
Travel – Regularly traveling away from the office to conduct business

It would be helpful to try to determine three factors that motivate you and each of your team members. Then you should try to determine how these motivational factors are being met now and how they could be met in a more effective manner.

Related Articles:   Your Leadership … + or – ?   and   Persuasion … the leader’s best tool!

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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