p>Ways to motivate employees
– Employee motivation is often a thankless task. Every worker has a different work ethic, performance standard, attitude towards work and will respond differently to criticism. So just HOW
does a manager motivate everyone in the work
Employees are an extension of the manager. They are responsible for carrying out the strategic operational objectives of the management team. They will have targets to meet, calls to make, tasks to complete, meetings to attend and reports to write. But how does a manager motivate these different personalities to do well?
I consider management to be an art form rather than a vocation. I have personally worked under a few managers in my time; some were superb motivators and got the very best out of me. Others were absolutely useless and didn’t have a clue how to manage at all.
Of all the managers I have worked with, the defining quality which differentiated the best from the worst was RESPECT. If a manager respects the employee, the employee will return that respect through increased productivity. If the manager has no respect for the employee, the employee will adopt a negative attitude towards work and will not consider it to be important.
Employees must be motivated to do what they are paid to do. Let’s look at some of the ways in which managers can get the best out of their workforce:
1) Communicate. Good managers will always ensure that the channels of communication between themselves and workers remain open. A manager who is visible and talks to staff regularly will always be seen in a better light than managers who rarely show their face. The relationship between a manager and employee needs to be cultivated and developed over time. Ensuring good communication is a key step towards becoming a better manager.
2) Respect. I mentioned it earlier, however this means more than just opening doors or being polite. Respect for a person means acknowledging their presence, accepting their individuality, realizing their personal worth and disregarding position or status. Managers and employees are still human. Managers who expect employees to be like robots in carrying out every set task will soon realise it is a poor method of management. Treat staff like human beings and they will reciprocate.
3) Criticism. I have seen countless times how downhearted and embarrassed employees feel when they are criticised openly in front of others. This may give the manager a feeling of authority or power however it does nothing for the credibility and self esteem of the employee. The negativity felt by the employee will be significantly increased if the entire team witnesses the event. Criticism should be constructive, given in private and delivered in such a way that the receiver has a chance to respond and get their view across.
4) Incentive. Nothing is worse in a work environment than a situation where working extremely hard has no reward other than remuneration. Every employee will have targets or deadlines to meet. To get workers to perform better, there must be incentives in place to reward hard work and effort which results in the employee exceeding the set targets. If the target is to increase productivity by x%, what will the employees get for reaching it? Any incentive must be worthwhile and must reflect the amount of effort it took to reach or exceed it.
5) Empowerment. If a manager wants employees to perform well, they must provide them with the knowledge, tools, training, confidence and expertise to be able to carry out the work to a competent level. Workers who are not empowered to perform will end up stressed out with no clear direction and their performance will suffer. A good manager will always ensure his or her workers are knowledgeable and fit to carry out their duties. Training and development should be ongoing and should engage the employees so that they enjoy what they are learning.
6) Reputation. Employees will consciously make efforts or excuses to avoid a manager with a bad reputation. They will automatically know that such a manager will have nothing positive to say and will focus on the ‘stick’ rather than the ‘carrot.’ On the flip side, employees will gladly associate with or work for a manager with a good reputation or someone they like, because they will feel comfortable in their presence and will enjoy working for that manager. A good reputation can only be earned, it can never be demanded.
7) Trust. A good manager will trust the employee to carry out his or her duty without constant supervision and monitoring. As long as the employee does not betray this trust, the relationship will be productive. The employee must also trust the manager to look out for their best interests and proactively find ways of enhancing the relationship further.
ways to motivate employees
8) Recognition. When an employee performs well, particularly on a difficult or challenging task and where they have gone above and beyond what is expected of them, they must be recognized. Little is more deflating for an employee than when concerted, consistent effort is not recognized or praised. The worker will feel that there is no point in working harder than his or her colleagues if the manager is not going to acknowledge it.
9) Flexibility. A good manager should be flexible when it comes to accommodating the needs of an employee. As long as the employee does not abuse this, flexibility can become a great attribute which a manager can use to get the best out of the worker. For example, allowing staff to start a little late if necessary is perfectly acceptable if the worker is willing to stay a little late at the end. Or if a target is missed, a good manager will always try to understand why rather than discipline the employee straight away.
10) Care. The relationship between a manager and employee should not be limited to the confines of the working environment. Employees are human beings after all. It will not hurt a manager to find out about the employee’s interests outside work and use this to develop a personal rapport with the individual. This shows a caring attitude and will make the employee feel that the manager cares and is approachable.
A motivated workforce will be a productive workforce. It is far better to have happy, empowered, motivated staff than it is to have bored, unhappy, demoralized staff. This goes far beyond how employees perceive their manager. It encapsulates how the team performs, how the department performs and how the company itself performs and how it will be perceived by people in general, whether internally or externally.