Motivation Part 3 – Your role in keeping your staff motivated!

This blog is the third of three examining motivation in the work place. The first examined why we go to work? The second looked at what makes us work willingly and well and discussed Hertzberg’s work on true motivators, whilst this blog  examines what demotivates us in the workplace.

What irritates you at work is likely to be similar to things that irritate others.   In this blog I hope to show what these feelings are based on, and will refer to Hertzberg’s work again, and crucially examine how the manager can stop staff  feeling this way.

My favourite analogy of Hertzberg’s “Hygiene Factors” is as follows: Picture a small isolated town in a warm area. The local authority have a sewerage plant to cater for the needs of the townsfolk. When it works the townsfolk pay it absolutely no attention, they just flush the loo. They remain healthy because there is no chance of contamination from the sewerage works. If the local authority spend millions on the works, new bells and whistles etc, the population DON’T get any healthier, they just carry on flushing the loo! However if the works starts to malfunction the population can become really ill very quickly, and will complain.

That’s the crux of the concept behind the hygiene factors.  There are some things that need to be in place, at a satisfactory level, so that people don’t become demotivated. Hertzberg’s study suggests that these are listed in order of importance:

1 Policies and administration

2 Technical supervision

3 Relationsip with your boss

4 Work conditions

5 Salary

6 Relationships with your peers

Which of these can managers control? At first glance many say that the hygiene factors are “out of their control”, but a closer examination can quickly dispel this notion. Whilst most of us don’t set work based policies and administration procedures, as managers we CAN let others have access to these areas.  We can make staff aware of what is there to protect and enhance their prospects. For example, how many of your colleagues will know that there are paternity rights and what they really are?  How do your colleagues access these? There may be some information around certain polices or procedures around the workplace, much of it may be gossip, rather than based on fact, and this can alienate staff, before the true facts are known. Shouldn’t your job as the manager be to inform them of this information, or how they could access the relevant documents?

Technical supervision usually falls into two camps, either you am the expert, and feel you should know everything about the task, as the company employed you for the role! Or OMG the staff know more than I do, so I’ll have to blag it! Why not be honest and open?  Share your expertise and recognise innovation can come from innocent questions like “Why do we do this?”

Hertzberg identifies having a work based relationship with your boss, as being necessary and expected. This is not about pub time (but that can be good),  but it’s about being  listened to, being spoken to, being allowed to contribute. Even if the person is consistently wrong, killing of ideas, kills off business and can alienate staff.

Work conditions are important.  Mangers don’t usually paint the office, control air conditioning, or sort out car parking. However, the best ones will make sure that everyone knows why the office hasn’t been painted, why it’s a bit too warm and why the car park is flooded. Sharing information is vital to building up good working relationships, and for staff to see the manager as honest and trustworthy.

Similarly, mere mortals in companies  do not get to set the level of staff salary, BUT as a manager you can make sure that people are paid accurately, paid on time and that their holiday leave is booked properly etc.

If people are having a difficult time with their colleagues, but still trying to  do a good job, they need support.   How long can you really expect them to keep going if the office atmosphere is fraught with tension? Mangers must keep an eye on work place relationships. Ignore them at your peril.

The previous blog looked at true motivators, such as achieving at work, being recognised for your contribution, as well as experiencing a sense of personal growth, and it’s pretty obvious that a lack of these things are not great for staff motivation.  What brilliant managers need to think about, is what is within their sphere of influence?  What will keep the sewage plant working so that the population will stay well!  It may seem a thankless task, but it’s necessary.

 

 

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Motivation Part 2

Building on the previous blog which looked at Maslow’s study in determining why people go to work. In this article, I’m going to reflect on what makes people work hard willingly and well. In my experience it isn’t money!

In the 1960’s Frederick Hertzberg undertook a study into workplace motivation, and his findings were published under the title ‘One More Time, How Do You Motivate Employees?’ which still hold true today.

Hertzberg identified the following “True Motivators”

1) Achievement

2) Recognition

3) The work itself

4) Responsibility

5) Advancement

6) Personal Growth

In the previous article, we discussed the door to motivation being “locked from the inside”, and that the best managers can have the keys to unlock motivation in others.  As managers and leaders we need to be aware of these keys so that we can empower our colleagues to work hard willingly and well. In practice, what sort of things can we do in addition to communicating effectively with our colleagues?

 

1) Achievement

A successful manager will ensure staff have the resources and skills necessary to meet or exceed their objectives. It is offering support and monitoring progress towards set goals. A good manager will remove roadblocks, resourcing issues and other trivia to allow their team member to achieve.

 

2) Recognition

The manager recognises the staff member’s hard work, and acknowledges this privately or sometimes publicly. Teams should be encouraged to celebrate the successful work undertaken by one of their members. This positive environment allows individuals to feel pride and confidence in their work, and will motivate them to continue producing similar results. Manager need to factor time into their diaries to actively do this. Telling someone “that’s what you’re paid for…” is a massive wasted opportunity.

 

3) The Work Itself

Many of us just love doing the job.   We receive enormous satisfaction from a job done well, (see link below to Dan Pink). There are plenty of people that feel this way about their role, despite the fact that managers may try to interfere in the work process, by controlling or stifling staff efforts. What might happen if managers positively challenged people to really excel? To really do the best they could?

 

4) Responsibility

A manager’s role to let staff get on with their tasks in a supported and resourced way. Why do some managers keep hold of particular tasks that should or could be delegated to others? Fear? The thought that they might be seen as lazy? Concern the other person might do a better job? Get the keys to motivation out! Delegate appropriate work formally with a clear explanation as to why, and ensure it’s not seen as dumping! If transferred correctly, this level of responsibility could be motivating.

 

5) Advancement

In the previous blog we examined the idea that status and being seen as an expert were important reasons why some people went to work. Herzberg highlighted the possibility of advancement as a key motivating factor. For many people the challenge of progressing in a team or company, with the chance of promotion, not matter how slim or distant, encourages them to work harder and to engage more fully with tasks. Managers should make staff aware of these possibilities and how individuals can attain them.

 

6) Personal Growth

It is hugely motivating to be able to do something one week that seemed impossible the week before. Personally, having learnt to plaster a piece of wall a couple of weeks ago, together with having the recognition of this achievement from others inspired me to continue developing my DIY skills. I also felt personal pride in my work. Managers need to recognise individual’s areas of personal or professional development, and offer their praise.

 

Hertzberg’s True Motivators are as important today as they were in 1968. The best managers and leaders know this and keep the keys close to hand. Everyone’s motivation to engage in work related tasks is slightly different, but an excellent leader can influence by using the six top True Motivators.

Dan Pink develops this further at the link below. My next blog will be about what dissatisfies us most at work and how the good manager can influence them.

 

Power at work

Power at work

As promised from a previous blog relating to assertiveness and dealing with people that have little regard for your rights.

There are various theories about how “power” plays a role in the work place, having an understanding of these theories might put you in a better position to be assertive.

Here are a few indicators that I find useful when the situation looks a little tricky.

POSITIONAL POWER – The obvious power play, this derives from the grade, rank or position that you hold, it’s about status. Many senior managers in organisations use this deliberately to get things done, that probably should have been planned better. “I am your boss and I am telling you to do it!”, “your family commitments need to wait, this deadline must be achieved, just get it done”. We see this Power play in everyday life. Why do Policemen (It is only men) wear helmets? So that they stand out, so that their status / power is readily observed. Some police forces would only recruit above a certain height to exacerbate this. (lets not get drawn into how well you do the job or how you behave, just give us big ones, ho hum) In a court of law judges sit higher than everyone…uniforms in the military.. uniforms at work.

EXPERT POWER – “I am the recognised guru in this field, challenge me at your peril! For I am the font of all knowledge”. Unfortunately many people confuse expert with length of time served, therefore you can be perceived as the expert just because you have lived long enough. How many colleagues do you know that have 10 year’s experience, but actually only had 1 year, but repeated it 10 times!  Learning little in the past 9 years.

COERSIVE POWER – The ugly use of threats to get people to do things. Often, but not exclusively, comes with Positional Power, frequently an abuse linked to social power.

MORAL POWER – “We must do this because it is simply the right thing to do”. A hard power play to argue against. The usual failing of this is that the right thing to do is often based on subjective feelings or misdirection, rather than objective facts, trends etc. “The Government of Syria should not gas civilians”. Well of course not, a point that makes absolute sense. However why was it OK to kill and injure civilians using other methods? And why were we silent then?

SOCIAL POWER – This is a bit more delicate. How do you discipline a colleague when he is having an affair with the chief executive? Some people deliberately use their patronage to behave badly towards others. Although I have recently seen an example where a competent hardworking colleague was getting some really poor work allocated to her. The reason? Daddy is a senior manager and her boss doesn’t like Daddy, because Daddy got the job the manager wanted.

PERSONAL POWER – Some people are just really charismatic, regardless of their position. I am sure that all of us recognise people at work, home or in the pub that influence enormously because of their personal power.

I hope that makes sense, just a taster. Now think about your tricky situation, what are the powers being used? How can you use that knowledge to your benefit WITHOUT VIOLATING THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS? Richard