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Timothy F. Bednarz

Quality Insider

Motivation Must Be Personal to Be Effective

Managers: Start with a genuine interest in each employee

Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 12:17

All employees are unique as to what drives them to do their best and excel in their profession. Most work as expected, but the motivated employee will go to great lengths to exceed expectations. The key is for managers to discover what truly drives people. Once their motivation is understood, leaders have the power to get the most out of their employees.

Managers often feel there is no need to motivate their employees as long as the pay is fair. Yet research has demonstrated that the majority of personal motivation is based on a host of other significant factors such as achievement, recognition, responsibility, personal growth, and advancement. Compensation (e.g., wage, health plan, benefits) is certainly a motivating factor, but many employees perceive compensation as a level of worth and how they are recognized within the organization. A poorly designed compensation plan doesn’t reflect employees’ individual achievements, and it will cause them to feel unappreciated.

Managers who want to maximize their employees’ performance use specific motivators to create an environment in which individuals feel valued for their contributions to the company, know their efforts are appreciated and supported by the organization, and have the desire to achieve higher levels of personal performance. Here are some motivating tactics managers can use to create that environment.

Interest. Take a genuine personal interest in each employee. Paying attention to their personal and professional growth brings an understanding of what motivates them. When managers demonstrate an interest in their employees, they are giving and sharing their time, lives, and expertise.

Confidence. Help employees to develop confidence in their abilities. This means allowing them to experiment with new ideas and techniques with the understanding that many lessons are best learned through personal mistakes and failure.

Challenge. Employees must be challenged to stretch their personal and professional limits. This includes development in areas of vocational knowledge, skills, and expertise. They can develop realistic and attainable goals if managers allow them to work those plans without interference, micromanagement, or retribution if they falter. 

Bonding. Managers must establish a sense of fellowship between the individual members of their workplace, which creates camaraderie and emotional support. Successfully done, this builds a strong team atmosphere and healthy sense of friendly competition that is beneficial to the organization.

Reward and recognition. Managers should use fair and consistent standards with which to measure performance and base rewards and recognition. Employees should be evaluated against their own performance, and, for best results, appropriate recognition should be given immediately.

Appreciation. Beyond tangible rewards and recognition, managers must demonstrate their personal appreciation for the efforts and contributions made by their individual employees. They should also avoid taking the top performers on their team for granted. Because these individuals need little attention or direction, they are often overlooked as managers invest more time with more inexperienced or problematic employees. To stretch their personal abilities, the best of the group also need ongoing recognition, appreciation, and encouragement.

Excerpted from Motivating Employees: Pinpoint Management Skill Development Training Series (Majorium Business Press, 2011).


About The Author

Timothy F. Bednarz’s picture

Timothy F. Bednarz

Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D., is an accomplished author, researcher, consultant, entrepreneur, and innovator. He has founded three successful companies and has more than 26 years consulting experience in business development. As a critical thinker and transformational agent of change, he has the ability to view complex issues, identifying specific causes to develop meaningful solutions in simple terms. He has authored more than 125 books as well as a wide variety of high quality learning content. His latest book is Great! What Makes Leaders Great (Majorium Business Press, 2012). He is the author of more than 85 books in the Pinpoint Skill Development Training Series.



X equals Y

If managers would look at their employees just the same as at themselves, no rule-of-thumb would be required. Modern management styles still remind the Spartans' hierarchy, where there were the Hilotes, the slaves, those who had - and still have - no "civil" right. Thank you.