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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

3 myths about staff motivation

As a worker, how would you rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 with regard to motivation, one being the lowest and ten being the highest? If you rank below 4, you would be regarded as lowly motivated while if your rank is about 6, you would be referred to as highly motivated. I would however imagine that most of you have ranked themselves at between 4 and 6 hence regard themselves as averagely motivated.

Regardless of your ranking, lots of myths abound with regard to staff motivation. Today, I seek to address three of the most common myths.

Myth 1: Staff motivation is the responsibility of the employer.

Who do many employees blame for lack of motivation at work? Of course, they place the blame squarely on the employer. We hear our friends and workmates saying how their employers are not motivating them to perform well during these hard economic times. We suggest that we would be better performers only if our employers motivated us just a little more.

There is nothing farther than the truth as expecting staff motivation to be the function of the employer. The truth is that staff motivate themselves to work. There is little that the employer would do to truly motivate staff who are not motivated from within. What the employer does is create an enabling environment in which the staff operate and work from. Motivation that is real and sustainable is the one that emanates from the staff themselves. Intrinsically motivated staff have been known to perform well even in hard times.

Myth 2: Money is the greatest motivator at work

The fact that money is a motivator at work is not debatable. Many people seek to know how much they will be paid for the service they render and the more the amount, the more they appear motivated to provide the service. It is however a known fact that the more salary a person gets does not necessarily determine how well motivated they become. There are many other factors that determine true motivation. A highly paid worker who is in the wrong career or is made to work at hours and days that make her compromise on her social and spiritual lives for instance does not reflect true motivation. I have overheard of persons who have had to quit highly paying jobs for low salaried opportunities that hand them back their lives.

Myth 3: What motivates you will motivate your employees

It is true that people tend to imagine that what excites them should naturally excite others. At the workplace, some employers tend to assume that what motivates them as individuals should serve to motivate their employees. This is a fallacy. People are motivated variously. As suggested by Abraham Maslow through his famous hierarchy of needs pyramid, people are always at different levels of need and the need that an employee has determines the factor that would motivate them. It is hence important to note the level of need that the employees are at so that you can meet them at the points of their need.

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