Thursday, April 09, 2020

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Motivation At Work

When considering instilling or lifting motivation in your workplace, I think it is important to recognise that there are many types widely used here in New Zealand. I do not believe that one size fits all, nor do I believe that there is a specific formula on the way to motivate people. However, the following outlines what I see most corporations and companies engaging in to varying degrees:

1. Negative Extrinsic Motivation–that which comes from outside of you but is negatively based. E.g. “Do that or else you may be looking somewhere else for work…… “
2. Positive Extrinsic Motivation–that which comes from outside of you but is positively based. E.g., “If you could work on Saturday - I will organise a day off in lieu…… “
3. Negative Intrinsic Motivation–that which comes from inside of you but is negatively based. E.g., “I don't want to stay till 3……”
4. Positive Intrinsic Motivation–that which comes from inside of you and is positively based. E.g., “I want to complete that project……”

What we are typically seeing in most workplaces in this country are the first three types of motivation being used: that is, Negative Extrinsic Motivation, Positive Extrinsic Motivation and Negative Intrinsic Motivation. What has been proven time and time again, in countless companies and corporations internationally is that these three types are not sustainable or effective in the long term. Unfortunately, however this still operates here.
Without a doubt, the only long-lasting and proven effective type of motivation is Positive Intrinsic Motivation.

The way for you to recognise which type is most often used in your work place– is to start to observe the dialogue and interactions that take place. There are some commonalities (in terminology and behaviour) that highlight the motivational triggers that your team are responding to.  Consequently, these show, which motivational types you and your Management Team, are engaging in.

Negative Extrinsic Motivation can show itself in the following ways:

•    ‘Get that done now!  The boss will be furious.’
•    ‘Are you still going with that report? It's overdue.’
•    ‘What's going on with this project? I thought you said you could handle it’.
•    ‘I'm not happy with any of it– you guys are hopeless…’
•    ‘This is not what we planned -you're going to have to stay late to fix this.’

Positive Extrinsic Motivation can be recognised in the following ways:

•    ‘I'd appreciate if you could get that report in before you leave.’
•    ‘We are looking forward to getting your comments on that.’
•    ‘Thank you for putting in the extra hours –it's appreciated.’
•    ‘If you could meet with us earlier we can sign them off today.’
•    ‘The figures from last month look good. Keep it up’

Negative Intrinsic Motivation can be recognised in the following ways:

•    ‘I'd better do that, otherwise I will just feel guilty’
•    ‘I must finish today otherwise she will be annoyed with me.’
•    ‘I can't wait for Friday night– I am so over this.’
•    ‘I better get moving–but man I hate my job!’
•    ‘I really don't want to be here.’

Positive Intrinsic Motivation can be recognised in the following ways:

•    ‘I want to do that because… I like achieving results!’
•    ‘I'm looking forward to work this week; it will be good to finish the project.’
•    ‘Let me get back to you–I just want to finish this.’
•    ‘I like having lots to do, the day just races by.’
•    ‘I feel really good about the quality of my work.’

Although these are generalisations, they will highlight some initial indicators that show the style in which you /others may be motivating the team.
Of note, the old adage is true, if you continue to use the same methods–you will continue to get the same results. However, if you try a different style of motivating your team, you may get traction, and notice that the results are more positive and sustainable.
It is always useful when addressing the issue of motivating team members to be congruent with your thoughts words and actions. There is nothing more obvious than someone who is disingenuous, insincere or dishonest in their communication with others.
You may be annoyed or frustrated with a team member, and although that is commonplace–what is important when considering motivation is recognising that it is qualities of genuineness, sincerity and a willingness to engage respectfully with others–that can make the difference.
The following questions are useful to consider when building on/improving current levels of motivation at your place of work.

1. How do you currently motivate your team?
2. Are the motivation tools, techniques and strategies in place effective?
3. How are you measuring these?
4. How would you currently rate the levels of motivation at work? Is it where it should be?
5. How willing are you to lift the motivation levels that currently exist?

The way to encourage the most effective and sustainable type of motivation – Positive Intrinsic Motivation is to start communicating with your team in a way that elicits their ideas and input. The point being that: All people really want is to be heard. So, a simple first step would be to consider sitting down and dialoguing with your Team Members about what they like, dislike, enjoy and find challenging at work. This does not mean that everybody's wants are met. Rather, it shows your willingness to engage and listen to what your team are really saying, feeling and experiencing at work.

You can initiate the process by employing the following strategies:

1.    Encourage open dialogue regarding motivation, rewards, bonuses and incentive schemes on a random basis;
2.    Engage with personnel who are lacking in motivation–offsite–to try to find out why
3.    Inject some ‘fun’ type activities into the work week, e.g., Friday afternoon raffle, Monday morning-tea shout.
4.    Have a weekly team member ‘silly hat’ competition where people vote on the faux pas of the week.
5.    Encourage people to begin using a suggestion box; this encourages input into the fun/social type activities at work.
6.    Have a random employee of the month certificate, for a ‘silly’ reason, e.g., the person that went to the water cooler the most on Monday.

Although the above ideas may seem as though you are employing Extrinsic Positive Motivation techniques, the reality is that when people feel respected, valued and that their opinions hold weight–they are more willing to perform at a higher level for you. As well as using and engaging in fun type activities in the workplace you will also send a message that they matter too. Never doubt the value of communication in the role of motivation. When people feel important and effective in their role - watch the Intrinsic Motivation levels rise. The simple fact is - all you are really doing is re-affirming that their opinions matter.  Basically, it is a universal truth, that the most effective way to engender loyalty, motivation and commitment in people, is to treat them the way you would like to be treated yourself.

This is just a brief look at some methodology around increasing, instilling and solidifying positive intrinsic motivation in your place of work.
Be aware that change can only happen if there is a collective held belief by the executive team that good motivation increases workplace culture, improves performance and therefore escalates profit margins.

And finally – ‘We cannot change other people, we can only change ourselves.’ But there are ways for you to initiate, work with and cement Intrinsic Positive Motivation into your workplace. If you do this you are more then likely to engender positive and genuinely motivated team members.

For more on this topic, and some further ideas to address this issue ‐ see the Workshop outlines and resources we provide, listed below.

For the individuals needing to lift Motivation

Workshops and/or Coaching sessions on: 

•Motivation at Work  

•Developing Attitude/Mind-set at Work  

• Personal Accountability  

• Mediocrity at Work 

For the Managers wanting to instil higher motivation levels into teams -

• Stop complaining  – Take charge Workshop  

• Leading Underperformers

• Mind‐Set Excellence 

• Motivating Underperformers 


Consulting Session (Groups of Managers/Leaders) dealing with specific/individualised issues on Motivation/Attitude and Performance. 

Consulting Session (one on one) with Managers/Leaders targeting specific concerns regarding Motivation/Attitude and Performance.

Please contact us if you would like information on any of the above.

Case Studies

Our Case Studies are just an example of the types of positive outcomes that occur as a result of the Transformational Change techniques and initiatives that are designed and facilitated to meet your needs.

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