If you are an employee, do you think your manager is responsible to motivate you? 

If you are a manager, do you think it is your responsibility to motivate your employees? 

Here is the simple answer: “No.” Management is responsible to create a motivating environment, and management is responsible to develop self-reliant and self-motivated employees. That’s it. 

External motivation (carrot or stick method) was a motivational technique that seemed to work well during the industrial age. 

Carrot (motivation by desire) = more money, a title. 

Stick (motivation by fear) = if you don’t do what I tell you to do, you will get fired. 

Today we are in the age of knowledge work and information technology. Many managers are frustrated by the fact that what used to work simply doesn’t work anymore. Our young generation isn’t motivated by money and titles and if you apply the stick, they will simply move back into their parents basement. Ouch!

Here is the thing, we can all feel frustrated and demotivated at times. That is totally o.k. What is not o.k. is that most people simply don’t have a mental strategy in place how they can motivate themselves when they are in a rut. 

Do you give people goals (mainly numbers/targets) and expect them to be excited?

Have you ever spoon-fed your team members so that they won’t make a mistake? 

Have you ever had the feeling that people don’t move until you tell them to move? 

If your answer is yes to all or most of these questions, please don’t feel bad because you are not alone. 

How about…

  • allowing people to be involved in the corporate goal setting process – WIIFT (what’s in it for them?)
  • making personal development an expectation in the performance review? People have to tell you what they want to learn this year – what courses to take, what skills to learn, what behaviours to improve, what mentor to choose, what books to read (and drop that demotivational 1 – 10 Performance Review Rating System)?
  • hiring more people based on their personal hobbies and talents than just for skill and education only (a hobby can tell you a lot about a person’s drive and personality)?
  • asking people more open-ended questions so that they can have “a voice” in the problem solving process. 
  • teaching people the power of goal setting in their personal life in order to get happier, healthier and more productive employees? 

Will some of these ideas cost money?

Yes, but most definitely not as much as it will cost to have ongoing performance issues, lack of discipline, high turnover and absenteeism, health & safety issues and quality concerns. 

Self-motivation is a good skill to develop and everyone will benefit from it – the company, the employees and the employees’ families and friends. 

Stop wishing and start doing! The best project we will ever work on is ourselves. 

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