Understanding Motivation

Managers perform many diverse functions however their primary task is to motivate people to use their energy, knowledge and skills to achieve the goals of the organization. There are three basic types of motivation. These are fear, incentive and attitude. The first two fall short because they are both temporary and external. When fear ceases to exist or an incentive fails to have meaning, neither provides motivation – a motive for action. Attitude motivation is permanent and internal. When people believe in what they are doing and those who support them believe in them, they are self motivated.

The organizational climate has a direct impact on motivation. When team members are encouraged and supported by management, they feel free to use their full potential for creativity and achievement and productivity soars. Communication needs to be open and constructive. Mistakes, missed goals, obstacles or setbacks are all opportunities to learn better methods, change thinking and become more effective. In conjunction with this strategy is to manage expectations. To prevent misunderstanding and problems three components are necessary. Every person needs a written specific job description specifying the expected results. Policies and procedures also need to be established and written so the individual knows how to do specific tasks. Finally an organizational goals program focuses the activities of everyone on what is of prime importance. Within that framework each individual can establish their own goals to meet the objectives. With these elements in place, a predictable climate has been established and excellence can be the expected outcome. Since people enjoy fulfilling work, status and recognition with some independence, they have reasons to take action and then only need to be held accountable by management. Self-motivated employees will be better, happier, longer lasting as well as able to persist and persevere to accomplish and achieve.

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