Motivating Employees: You're Kidding, Right?
by Marnie Green
Often I’m asked to make comments or teach classes on “employee motivation.” The mere combination of these words makes me cringe. We are each unique in our own right and to say that there is a set of principles that explains how to motivate people to higher levels of performance seems too good to be true.
What makes us unique? Our family, our upbringing, our education, our religion, our circle of friends, our socio-economic status, (and on, and on. . .) all make us unique (and dare I say, “special?”) And those differences mean that a one-size fits all approach just doesn’t work.
Take for example my friend Sam. Sam is an artist and has taught art at a junior high school for 25 years. Several times, Sam has been given the opportunity to become a school administrator, which would lead to significantly more money. It would give him more power and prestige. It would allow him more freedom in his day-to-day activities. However, time and time again, Sam has turned down this opportunity. Many of his peers think he’s crazy. They say, “Sam, you’re turning down all that money and freedom. What’s your problem?” Time and time again, Sam replies with, “I like my job, I like the kids, and I like my summers off. If I became a principal, I’d work year round, have less time with kids, and I’d have to answer to the parents and the school board. It’s not worth it!”
When I ask people what motivates them, many say, “money.” However, Sam is one of the millions of exceptions to that rule. For some, money is a motivator. For others, flexibility, the kind of work they do, the freedom the have, the ease of the work may all be motivating factors.
What is it that motivates you? And, more importantly if you are a leader, what motivates the people who you are leading? The best place to find the answer to that important question is to go directly to the source and ask.
Marnie E. Green is Principal Consultant of the Chandler, AZ-based Management Education Group, Inc. Green is a speaker, author, and consultant who helps organizations develop confident leaders. Contact Green at phone: 480-705-9394
web site: http://www.managementeducationgroup.com.