Everyone needs some form of motivation to get them to do anything. This really means “sufficient reason” for doing it. It can take very little to motivate someone to do something pleasurable. It can take quite extreme circumstances to get that same person to do something objectionable.

The key point is that what constitutes sufficient motivation can be judged only by the person being motivated. Circumstances that would motivate one person will leave another unmoved. The task of a Manager lies firstly in assessing what will motivate an individual and secondly in applying that motivation.

Everyone is constantly subjected to a variety of motivating factors. The more basic the factor, the stronger it is in determining the course of action which will be taken.

Beware of the common management concept of motivation - it can be briefly described as falling into two general classifications.

• The Carrot
• The Big Stick

The Carrot:
This concept is based on the assumption that money always motivates. This is a fallacy - it does not. It will always depend on whether the person to be motivated considers it worth it. Do they need the money sufficiently to make the added work or responsibility that goes with it worthwhile? Only if the answer is “yes” - in his view, not yours - will it motivate them.

The Big Stick:
Using the “Big Stick” technique - offering some kind of threat, such as “The Sack” if there is not a visible improvement in performance - does motivate people. The trouble is that you, as the Motivator, cannot control what effect the motivation may have.

However you wrap up the big stick, it will seen by those who are to be motivated, as a threat to their “Shelter/Security”. That provides a very basic motivational drive. Faced with such a threat they may decide that it is not worth the effort or that they are incapable of it. The result, so far as you are concerned, is that they start looking for another job. Far from improving, they actually get worse - because their efforts are going into job hunting.

On the other hand they may decide that they will achieve the required improvement. Their “Shelter/Security” has been threatened. If they decide to do what you want their sole concern will be to remove that threat.

So far as their job situation is concerned they will not be motivated by “Acceptance by Equals”, “Leadership” or “Self Fulfilment”. They will do everything necessary to rescue their “Shelter/Security”. This will often involve actions that upset other members of your team. As a result, motivating one person may have caused considerable dissent in others.

So - if that does not work, what does?

Firstly, remember that motivation can only be provided by something in the future. You cannot motivate from behind by - for example - gratitude. Just because they had a big pay rise last year will not motivate them this year. That pay rise will be regarded as “thanks” past efforts.

Next, find a way of using the basic triangle of motivation. This can be done by translating those basics into a series of needs. Everyone is subjected constantly to one of these needs - it is up to you to find out which will work as a motivator in this case. These needs are:-

To Have - Basic Possessions
Be - Their Image
Do - To Achieve
Belong - To Be Wanted
Grow - To Develop

Find the appropriate “needs” and use it.

So much for the factors concerned with providing a positive motivation. There are other factors which provide negative motivation - reasons for not doing something.

Negative motivational factors cannot be cancelled out by positive factors. Negative and positive factors always remain separate. All that you can do with a negative factor is remove it - to the extent that “they who are being motivated” considers that it no longer exists.

Signs of Negative Motivation are:-

 Aggression - against people or perhaps the Company.

 Regression - childish or spiteful behaviour.

 Obsession - often with the cause of the frustration.

 Resignation - total disinterest.

If you notice any of these signs in those directly responsible to you, investigate until the reasons are uncovered. Then remove the reason wherever possible. If you do not, the situation may well get worse - even to the point where those concerned will leave your company.

To be effective as a motivator it is essential that you know your staff well. If you do not then opportunities to motivate effectively and therefore efficiency will be lost.

Professor Frederick Hertzberg has promoted a theory of motivation which goes a long way forward from the original theory of “Carrot and Stick”, or indeed its extension ‘The Reward Theory’, still used by many managers and Companies to try and exhort greater efforts from their staff.

It stems from two-statements:-

 What makes people happy and motivated at work, is what they do.
 What makes people unhappy and demotivated at work, is the situation in which they do it.

Managers are going to have to become familiar with three new letters that are going to become increasingly important in the management of people in the future. The three letters are:-

Q.W.L. - standing for ‘The Quality Of Work Life’

Managers, who want to motivate their staff, are going to have to improve their Q.W.L.

This starts by defining people as they are, not as we want them to be. Many workers who we have assumed to have the characteristics which we wanted them to have are now saying: - “We are not like that. Treat me the way I am, not the way you believe me to be”.

So the big revolution managers are going to have to face is that of identifying the needs of the people - not their own projected needs.

These needs fall into two categories:- (Continued in Part 2)

The moral right of the author, Jonathan Farrington, has been asserted.All rights reserved.This publication or any part thereof may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording, storage in an information retrieval system or otherwise, unless this notification of copyright is retained.

Author's Bio: 

Jonathan Farrington is a business coach, mentor, author, and consultant who has helped hundreds of companies and thousands of individuals around the world achieve their full potential and consequently, optimum performance levels in his capacity as Managing Partner of The jfa Group – http://www.jf-assocs.com

Jonathan formed jfa in 1995, with the primary objective to deliver unique leadership and sales team development programmes to both the corporate and SME sectors. Since then, he has authored in excess of three hundred skills development programmes, designed a range of unique and innovative process tools and written extensively on organisational and sales team development. http://www.jonathanfarrington.com