Excerpts from 2 articles

http://www.forbes.com/2009/05/18/motivation-demotivation-employees-leadership-managing-stop.html – An article from Forbes.com, Stop Motivating Your Employees! Instead, work to keep them from being demotivated.

An employee typically begins a new job excited to be part of the team and pleased to be making a living. Those who promote the need to motivate would certainly agree with that, but they also seem to believe that something must change over time, making it necessary to “remotivate.” This, however, should be unnecessary. Our species’ fundamental desire to do quality work does not change.

The common problem facing employees at all levels is not their own motivation. It is work environments that demotivate.

When work environments consistently fail to provide the direction, resources and respect employees require, their innate desire to achieve is suppressed or redirected. They experience frustration and a kind of learned helplessness. They become motivated to retain their jobs rather than to perform them in a way that delivers optimal value to the organization. This is a common and predictable problem. Once employees escape such a discouraging work environment, their motivation to deliver optimal value for their organization reemerges– sometimes as they go over to a competitor.

There are, in sum, two key steps to staying on top of motivation and demotivation.

First, hire and keep on your team only people who are motivated to do their jobs well. As Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, says, “Get the right people on the bus.”

Second, understand that if they become demotivated, it is because of the environment in which they work. Strong and courageous leaders recognize that such an environment is their own failure. Understanding that can prevent you from misdirecting resources into unnecessary efforts to motivate staff.

We need a new leadership paradigm for the 21st century, with leaders taking a more realistic and enlightened view of the people who work for them. We need to create and maintain work environments that protect employees from the demotivation that has become endemic in modern business.

http://www.impactachievement.com/chapter_two.html (Chapter 2: Motivation at Work from the book People Leave Managers… Not Organizations.

Morale isn’t something that can be bought. The work environment has to provide people with opportunities to sucess [sic], to do their best, to be trusted, to be valued, and to be respected. Then morale and productivity can take place.

Years ago, David Berlo suggested the phrase “I mean you no harm” as advice to management regarding the type of work environment that is conducive to high performance. The phrase came from trainers at Sea World who, when asked how long they swam with new whales in the pool before the training began. replied, “Until the whale knows we mean it no harm.” They know that, once whales believe that they are in an environment of no harm, they will relax and perform. This concept seems so fundamental and obvious. Perhaps it is because of this that we so often overlook the signs of harm that work life can communicate to employees.

Managers need to adopt an approach to managing people that says, “I mean you no harm.”. This is the foundation for motivation and desire at work. The manager’s creed should be to never do personally anything that will destroy trust, suggest favoritism, show discrimination or disrespect to people or their jobs, or communicate insincerity.

The motivation to perform comes from a work environment that allows people to be productive, to achieve, and to participate in a meaningful manner… performance motivation (satisfaction) comes only with the presence of the ability to achieve, challenging work, increased responsibility, opportunities for growth and development, and recognition for accomplishment.

Let’s be clear, there is nothing wrong with a beer bust and softball game; it just doesn’t motivate people to perform well. Why? It’s ineffective because its absence is not the reason that motivation to perform is lacking. When a motivating environment is created, people enjoy a party or get together, of course, but as a “thank-you” or a “breather.” However, when the party is used to get something from employees, it not only fails to work, but it usually backfires, making things worse.

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