“Give a man a fish and you feed
him for a day.
Teach a man to fish and you feed
him for a lifetime”
What is the meaning of
~ Motivation basically means providing
an incentive that would increase the
productivity of an individual/employee
Understanding Motivation – Motivation is
not a subject that is clearly understood and
unfortunately it is often poorly practiced.
The word “motivation” is deprived from the
Latin term, “motivus” which means “a moving
Human nature is very complex and therein
lies the difficulty. There is the old saying that
you can take a horse to the water, but you
cannot force it to drink - the horse will drink
only if it is thirsty.
The same can be said of people. It has long
been observed that people will do what they
want to do or are otherwise motivated to do
Are people born with self-motivation or drive?
Some are and some are not, and those who
are not need to be motivated. As complex as
the human nature is, so is the the theory of
Dr. Abraham Maslow. He developed a
hierarchy of basic human needs, which serves
as a guide in understanding the basic needs
Physiological needs (this need is the
lowest on the pyramid and it covers basically
physical needs such as the need to eat, to
sleep, to look for shelter, etc)
Safety needs have to do with establishing
stability and consistency in a chaotic world.
We need the security of a home and family.
In some cases, safety needs cause persons to
Love needs – Human beings have a
desire to belong to groups. We need to
feel loved (non-sexual) by others and to
be accepted by others.
Esteem needs – There are two types
of esteem needs. The first is self-
esteem and the second is the attention
and recognition that comes from others.
Self-actualization needs (this is the
highest need) – This is the desire to
become more than what one is and to
become everything that one is capable
of becoming. People who have
everything can maximize their potential.
They can seek knowledge, peace, self-
fulfillment, oneness with God, etc.
The job of a manager in the workplace is to
get things done through employees and team
members and that is not a simple process.
Performance is considered to be a function of
ability and motivation. Ability depends on
education, experience, and training, and its
improvement may be a lengthy process.
Motivation can be improved quickly if the
manager knows the generally accepted
strategies for motivation
These strategies include –
Effective discipline and punishment
Treating people fairly
Satisfying employees’ needs
Setting work-related goals
Basing rewards on job performance
It is believed that there is a gap between the
individual’s actual state and some desired
state, and the leader/supervisor must try to
reduce this gap. Motivation is one of the
means to reduce and/or manipulate that gap.
In studies conducted, employees attribute
their motivation to job security, type of work,
Employees must feel a part of the
Employees must understand these objectives
Employees must feel that they are
contributing to these objectives
Once the organization allows its employees to
use their initiatives and make decisions then
that institution has in effect empowered your
Do You Use Sticks or Carrots?
Employee motivation usually boils down to
one of two approaches – the “stick” approach
and the “carrot” approach.
As many leaders have discovered, the
traditional “stick” style of motivation fails
absolutely in today’s workplace. In fact, this
approach, which relies on discipline and
punishment, often is counter-productive,
creating a “them” (management team) and
“us” (the workers) environment.
“Carrots,” style on the other hand, generally
result in immediate and positive results.
It is stated that the pen is mightier than the
sword and in this case the carrot is mightier
than the stick. Persuasion is far more
powerful and effective than coercion.
Leaders will find that persuasion builds
morale, initiative and motivation, while
coercion effectively suppresses such qualities.
A leader’s basic elements in persuasion
Appeal to the person’s sentiments
Appeal to logic
Likewise, an effective leader’s motivation toolkit
should be composed of the following elements
Approval, praise, and recognition
Trust, respect, and high expectation
Loyalty, given so that it may be received
Financial compensation and incentives
Once the employees are so motivated as to
attain the goals, the manager will have, in
effect, an effortless achievement
An effective leader will, therefore, recognize
that in motivating people, there is no “one
size fits all approach.”
What is empowerment?
Empowerment is not just telling people what
they can and cannot do. It is much more that
When employees are empowered
~They know and understand their duties and
they know their limitations
~When they have reached the limit of their
authority, they are still willing and able to
make suggestions and know that their ideas
are respected and welcomed by senior
Because employees are empowered,
they are not afraid to think outside the
box, and present their ideas to
management because they are aware
that management will give their ideas
some serious consideration
Listen to your employees
~ Most front line staff within an organization
is usually considered the intelligence officers
collecting information from the customers and
passing it along to management.
~ Employees must feel comfortable coming
to management and relaying the information
they have gathered from the
~ If management chooses not to listen to
their employees then they run the risk of
developing a team of unmotivated
employees, who will become negative and
void of productivity as they would feel that
their feedback and input are not important
~ It is no longer important to be just
member/customer focused but in order for
the organization to be successful and
productive it must be employee focused as
well and one way to achieve this is to listen
to your employee feedback and suggestions
Reward empowered action
~ The reward of an empowered action is
positive press, which in turn can equal to
increased business and examples of this is as
follows – A store clerk overhears a customer
requesting a product that is not on the
shelves. He/she then relays this information
to the manager, who then calls his supplier
and request the product. The clerk then
informs the customer that although the
product is not on the shelves, the store would
hopefully be in stock by the end of the week.
~ This action has done several things –
- It has motivated the clerk because
he/she is aware that information given to the
manager would be respected and acted upon
- The customer is now comfortable and
satisfied knowing that the product is on the
way and this will cause that customer to tell
other potential customers who might just visit
that store and purchase
Staff must feel comfortable talking and
telling management their suggestions
so that they can be a part of the
organization and the decision making as
Treat employees fairly but not equally
~ Research states that 6 out of 10 employees
believe their company is doing a poor job of
applying personnel policies and procedures
fairly. When employees feel they are not
administered fairly, they lose respect for
management, build up resentment towards
fellow co-workers, and lose motivation for
~ However employees often confuse unequal
treatment with a lack of fairness and they are
two entirely different concepts. Employees
should be treated exactly the same regardless
of their jobs or personal needs. For example,
employees resent when:
Some departments get to leave early while
others are expected to stay late
Employees should be treated fairly but rarely
should they be treated exactly the same. Of
course no personnel decision should be based
on differences in sex, age, national
background, race, religion, sexual preference
Here is an interesting question – Do you have
the same rules for a seven year old and a
seventeen year old? The answer is no as
they have different needs, different
responsibilities and different capabilities.
~ There are many ways for individuals to
motivate and change their lives for the
betterment of themselves and their love
Here are a few steps that can assist in
charging one’s life –
Step 1 – Dream Great Dreams – Once you
have identified your dream, you can take the
steps to making them come true. Realize
there is no straight line to take you from
where you are to where you want to be.
~ Step 2 - Make a Decision
In every single decision we make, we exert a
power to shape and control our life.
Unfortunately, instead of pursuing our own
empowerment, we sometimes blame our
choices on things that have nothing to do
with us. How many times have you heard
someone say “I have no choice” or “I couldn’t
help it? Was that really the case, or did the
person just not understand the power of his
or her personal choices?
Notice how your life changes with every
decision you make, no matter how small.
Take responsibility for your decisions so you
can shape your ultimate path.
~ Step 3 – Exercise your power to choose
Simply dreaming great dreams will not
change your life; rather it’s what you do with
these dreams that’s important. So identify
what you need to do to make your dreams a
~ Step 4 – Form a Support Team
Enroll people in your dream who can help
you attain it. Allow them to be involved, as
they will provide energy and “know how” that
will help you to persevere.
~ Step 5 – Keep Score
Just as you wouldn’t play in a competitive
game without keeping score, neither should
you ignore the score when it comes to your
life. Keep track of your progress.
~ Step 6 – Establish a Baseline
The baseline is where you are now. By
now you have identified your vision,
developed a plan of action, chosen people to
help you, and identified your resources. You
know which events must occur for you to
succeed, and you know which step to take
first. Now it is time to step off the baseline
and move forward. If something interrupts
your progress, you will need to evaluate what
went wrong, make some adjustments and
start moving again.
~ Step 7 – Know where the goal line is
The goal line is your desired outcome. As
you focus on the long-term goal you have in
mind, don’t forget the short-term goals that
matter too. Setting and attaining small goals
helps give your self-confidence a boost and
keeps you motivated to continue plugging
away toward your long-term goals.
~ Step 8 - Reward Yourself
Praises from others are great rewards, but
it’s also important to reward yourself. After
all, you’re doing all this for you. Commit to
paper how you will reward yourself when you
reach a certain goal, and then follow through.
For example, take that exotic vacation you
have been dreaming about, or treat yourself
to a weekend getaway.
Take Charge Today for a Better Tomorrow
The thrill in this game called “life” is charting
a course, facing a course, facing challenges
head on, and holding someone else’s hand
along the way. Sometimes you win;
sometimes you lose. Either way, when you
focus on the big picture and refuse to let past
mistakes keep you down, you create a future
filled with possibility. So live to the fullest in
the present moment and make the most of it
to achieve your vision.