Motivating people effectively by xld14276


motivating-a-project-team pdf

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Motivating people
KAREN LEWIS provides a practical guide to enhancing your
career prospects through the creation of a motivated,
successful team.

                              I  t is an accepted business axiom
                                 that a manager is only as good
                              as his or her team. To ensure you
                                                                    achievement and interaction with
                                                                              conditions,      respect,

                              achieve business success as a         Sticks and carrots
                              manager, it is vital to have a          Retail organisations are rapidly
                              highly motivated team who can         moving away from ‘command and
                              perform       effectively.   Some     control’ management and towards
                              managers will be aware of             ‘coach and consent’ methods of
                              theories of motivation – e.g.         motivating. “A few may nibble at
                              Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs,          the carrot, but all will duck to
                              Herzberg’s Hygiene Factors,           avoid the stick” is an anonymous
                              McClelland’s Three Styles, etc. –     quote referring to the outdated
                              having come across them on            notion of motivation that was
                              training courses and so forth.        extensively employed in retail
                              However, much of this material is     organisations throughout the 70s
                              too theoretical to be of use to the   and 80s.
                              busy manager. This article shows        The 90s signalled a change in
                              you how to put into practice some     attitude, when retail managers
                              easy to use and positive steps to     acknowledged that rewarding and
                              create and sustain a highly           recognising good work was more
                              motivated, and therefore high-        effective than threatening punitive
                              performing, team.                     measures for bad work. This latter
                              Recognising needs                     ‘big stick method’, using fear as a
                                 People are pretty complex and      motivator, was seen to lose
                              do not necessarily all have the       managers respect and exacerbated
                              same needs at the same time.          a bad performance.
                              Furthermore, their needs change       Avoiding demotivation
                              on an irregular basis, either           As well as spending time
                              because they have been satisfied      motivating the team, also keep
                              or because more important ones        your eyes open for any signs of
                              have taken their place.               demotivation, which can be very
                                 As a manager, one of the first     contagious. Demotivation may not
                              steps towards motivating your         always be signposted but look out
                              team is to recognise and satisfy      for the following clues:
                              the needs of individuals. You can     • Defensive, protective actions or
                              assess needs fairly easily if you       sudden outbursts of anger
                              take the time to get to know your     • Inattention, non-participation
                              team. When designing jobs,              and non-communication
                              working conditions and team or        • Sloppy, ‘couldn’t care less’
                              department structures, think about      attitude or shoddy work
                              the full range of potential needs     • Lack of enthusiasm for the work
                              individuals have – pay, reward        • Prolonged or sudden lateness or
   absenteeism.                                   starts with basic but sound people                reviews or team meetings, or you can set up
   People engaging in the above types of          management principles:                            one-to-one interviews or focus groups.
behaviour generally do so for a reason: to        • Develop great communication skills and          Remember, once you have taken the time to
gain attention. As a general rule, some              use them                                       investigate staff opinions and attitudes, you
attention is better than none at all and people   • Delegate work and responsibility                must act and communicate quickly on the
would rather be reprimanded than ignored.         • Train staff to do the job and offer personal    findings. Enquiring into attitudes carries
Managers who disregard these signs risk              development to progress their skills and       with it an implicit promise of reform;
disastrous consequences. The person                  careers                                        otherwise you risk making the situation
concerned will become more demotivated            • Involve staff in decision making and            worse by increasing demotivation.
and may eventually take more drastic action          encourage ideas                                   Another management process that yields
such as disruption within the team,               • Give sincere praise or criticise                results is the exit interview. When staff leave
gossiping, etc. Here are some potential              constructively when it is due.                 the organisation, conducting an exit
reasons why people become demotivated:            Take the workplace ‘temperature’                  interview can yield valuable insight into the
• Lack of recognition                                It is important to measure workplace           perceived strengths and weaknesses of your
• Uninteresting work, lack of stimulation or      motivation on a regular basis to discover if      management style and how you motivate the
   boredom                                        and why the team are experiencing                 team. Staff are more likely to give honest
• Lack of involvement in decisions,               problems. However, if you encounter an            opinions when they are already committed to
   changes, etc.                                  unexpected rise in leavers or absenteeism,        leaving the organisation.
• Ideas or views not encouraged or                motivation is probably low and immediate          Building & harnessing motivation
   acknowledged, or dismissed when offered        action may be required. Remember that lack           An essential basis for motivation is a
• Lack of personal development or training        of motivation may have many causes, so do         positive work environment created by you.
• Lack of delegation or authority                 some research before jumping to                   Ensure you have clear directives from your
• Constant (unconstructive) criticism             conclusions.                                      boss so that you can set clear objectives for
• No praise for effort or good results               To measure motivation you may wish to          your team and give clear orders. Establish a
• Poor systems/processes                          try using employee attitude surveys. These        performance system that is productive rather
• Overload – too much work or pressure.           give a broad indication of morale but they        than obstructive, in which people are able to
   Recognising demotivation alone is              can be time consuming and costly, so a short-     perform at their best. Ascertain where an
pointless: you need to be committed to            term or more immediate measure would be           individual’s strengths and interests lie and
eradicating its causes. How can you help to       to talk to people regularly.                      then delegate responsibilities that will
prevent demotivation amongst your team? It           You can do this during performance             exploit these. Additionally, you need to

                                                                                               • 14 AUGUST 2004 •       11
CareerSkills (cont’d)
ensure you are treating your staff well. You       Calculate your own motivation. Your team         error has a limit. Repetition of the same error
must demonstrate trust in your staff and         will not respond to an uncommitted                 is not OK since it shows failure to learn from
prove yourself worthy of trust. This trust, on   manager, so it is important for you to             previous mistakes and sloppy standards of
your part, includes:                             motivate yourself as well as others. The           work. Be firm but fair when you are drawing
• Never making promises you are unable or        amount of energy you put into your work            attention to error, and do not pull any
  not intending to keep                          will indicate your level of motivation. If you     punches.
• Never asking others to do anything you         are unable to make decisions, reluctant to         In summary
  would not do yourself                          begin necessary tasks or unwilling to strive       If you are a good motivator you can be
• Ensuring your team know they can count         for achievements – these are all signs that        described as a person who:
  on your respect and your loyalty, unless       you are demotivated.                               • Analyses individuals’ needs
  and until they prove undeserving.              Create a no-blame, no-fear culture                 • Strives to satisfy individual needs
  As far as you have the authority to, you         Everyone makes mistakes. The lessons of          • Gives sincere and genuine praise when
must ensure that working conditions, pay         failure can be very valuable and not only to          due
and status issues, job security and working      the individuals involved but also the              • Gives praise for effort and behaviour as
atmosphere are managed in a way that is          organisation. A culture that fears failure will       well as results
acceptable to the team.                          not take up opportunities and may never            • Involves the team as far as possible
                                                                         realise      potential.    • Gives       spontaneous       rewards      for
                                                                         Don’t run your                outstanding results and effort
                                                                         department/store/unit      • Encourages and facilitates regular two-
                                                                         where staff are too           way communication
                                                                         afraid to put their        • Is seen as approachable and listens to what
                                                                         head above the                people have to say
                                                                         parapet for fear of it     • Looks for signs of demotivation and acts
                                                                         being shot off!               immediately.
                                                                            Accept the risks.       You are not motivating effectively if you are:
                                                                         When you delegate a        • Using the ‘carrot’ (incentives) and the
                                                                         task or project to a          ‘stick’ (fear and punishment)
                                                                         member of the team         • Ignoring people’s ideas, concerns or
                                                                         accept that there may         thoughts
                                                                         be a risk of failure.      • Putting obstacles in the way of
                                                                         You can manage and            performance
                                                                         minimise risks by          • Forcing staff to do what you want rather
                                                                         ensuring the delegate         than try to influence and persuade them
                                                                         is fully briefed and       • Not being honest with your staff and
                                                                         fully prepared before         keeping them in the dark
                                                                         starting the task.         • Only praising exceptional results
                                                                         However, if the task       • Ignoring signs of demotivation.
                                                                         is failed, then discuss       To fully realise the potential of your team,
                                                                         the reasons for the        it is important to understand how to motivate
                                                                         failure in order to        each individual but also to remember that
                                                                         eliminate them and         using motivational tactics will always result
                                                                         strengthen          the    in fairly short-term changes or effects. To
                                                                         platform for success.      achieve real sustainable long-term results,
                                                                         Taking a constructive      develop ‘self-motivation’.
                                                                         and        sympathetic        Recruit people who are already highly
                                                                         attitude to failure will   self-motivated and then provide the
                                                                         motivate            and    conditions to allow them to grow. Inspire
                                                                         encourage people.          them by trusting them to work on their own
                                                                         Punishing failure or       initiative, taking responsibility for their
                                                                         motivating using fear      tasks. Highly self-motivated individuals and
                                                                         will             create    teams are able to work through their
                                                                         resentment       rather    objectives and set deadlines as well as find
                                                                         than lasting success.      new methods for doing things. In addition,
                                                                            Finally, be clear       and crucially for your career, less
                                                                         about what learning        management input is generally needed in this
                                                                         from failure and           type of team – freeing-up time to allow you
                                                                         managing in this way       to concentrate on other important matters.
                                                                         really means. Make it
                                                                         clear that tolerance of

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