All managers want to do a good job for their teams and their organization. They want to feel like they are making a difference and have the sense that others respect the contribution they are making. It’s no different for the people who report to them.
At its core, human motivation revolves around two important factors:
1. How people feel about themselves.
2. How they see others as feeling about them.
The relative importance of these two factors differs with every person. Some care little about what others think, some expect little of themselves…but, by and large, human beings are motivated to meet the expectations of others–to gain love, affection, attention, or approval from those who mean something to us. People become dissatisfied when events transpire to lower their opinions of themselves. Unsatisfying work, lack of recognition, poor working conditions, etc. all speak loudly: “You aren’t worth much.”
Thus, from the standpoint of motivation, there is a difference in those factors that motivate and those that breed unhappiness. Factors that breed unhappiness do so because they make a person feel small, unworthy. Motivation, on the other hand, is what makes a person feel bigger, more like the person he or she wants to be.
Here are some right-way and wrong-way behaviors managers must keep in mind.
Managerial Behaviors That Breed Unhappiness
1. Maintaining an atmosphere that encourages joking, time-wasting.
2. Displaying feigned, phony interest in employees’ lives.
3. Arbitrarily changing work completion times for employees.
4. Covertly assigning the same work to two or more peers.
5. Demeaning subordinates.
6. Not taking time to listen to employees’ input and suggestions.
7. Discouraging transfer opportunities for worthy employees.
8. Vacillating when confronted with uncomfortable decisions.
9. Failure to follow through on past promises to employees.
10. Displaying an “I’m telling you” attitude in communications with others.
11. Exhibiting low expectations of employee performance.
12. Making subordinates feel as if they are standing still, career-wise.
13. Not advising employees as to how they are progressing.
14. Setting up employees to take the blame when things go wrong.
15. Not providing timely feedback on work progress, completion.
16. Appearing to be unhelpful and unsupportive of employees.
17. Assigning menial busy-work tasks.
Managerial Behaviors that Motivate
1. Recognizing employees’ accomplishments.
2. Providing new and stimulating work, requiring “stretch.”
3. Delegating responsibility and authority.
4. Showing an open interest in employees’ work efforts.
5. Taking the time to listen to employee input and suggestions.
6. Providing constructive criticism.
7. Encouraging employees to find their own solutions.
8. Being willing to explore alternatives; avoiding rigidity.
9. Offering periodic coaching.
10. Showing confidence in employees.
11. Stimulating employees to make the extra effort.
12. Being considerate.
13. Encouraging employees to contribute and raise their self-image.
14. Establishing a climate of trust.
15. Communicating thoroughly.
16. Setting high expectations for employees — with their input.
17. Learning each employee’s strengths and work style preferences.
18. Helping employees to further develop existing skills and cultivate new skills.
Excerpted from the Leader’s Guide for the video program More Than Money.
Recommended Training Resource: Managing Me. As the leader of any group, problems are inevitable. When problems arise at work, a manager can choose to react with either impulse or reason, anger or managerial intelligence. In this video, managers will learn that how they react will determine the results they get.