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Motivation in the Workplace

It's not very surprising that in today's business world, motivation in the workplace, relates to one of the most complex resources one needs to manage, yes, its the human resources. It just so happens to be one of the most expensive resources in many of the organization, it also happens to be the one resource that has the most variability in its performance. That is why, most supervisors, managers and senior managers have an exponentially growing desire (Motivation) to increase the motivation in the workplace. I would also like to point out that successfully harvesting this employee motivation requires no capital expenditures and therefore represents one of the most profitable returns on investment.

We know, the boss is accountable, but we are all responsible for the level of motivation in the workplace. As the leader, our job is to ensure that we set the proper policies and procedures to ensure that we have a balance between the organizational needs and those of our staff. As an employee, our job is to ensure that we follow these policies and procedure and that we point their shortcomings to our superiors instead of continuously having a "venting" session as break time.

What is employee motivation

As we have already provided the definition of motivation in Motivation Definition article as being "a general desire, need or want that generates the energy required for someone to behave in a particular way." For employee motivation we would need to add the work dimension into this definition. Thus we should define it as "a work related general desire, need or want that generates the energy required for an employee to behave in a way that will bring the organization closer to its goal."

Furthermore, employee motivation is really something that supervisors, managers and anyone within an organization that has direct reports is consistently concerns with. Many do see this as not very important and will pay very little attention to their employee's motivation and/or will use superficial tactics to provide the illusion that they are concern with their well being. But ensuring that their employees are motivated should be their primary area of responsibility!

Motivation and productivity

There have been multiple studies that concluded that there is a link between employee motivation and productivity. But, I'm sure that no one really needs empirical evidence to attest to the veracity of this statement. We all know that we personally perform better when we are highly motivated to do the task at hand!

How to build motivation in the workplace

As a leader, you need to take the time to truly understand what motivates and what doesn't motivate each one of your direct reports, they are not all the same. Some, just want to be given a workload and left alone to get it completed, others will want more guidance and praise as they get the work done. Do not make the mistake of thinking that there is a one size fits all! In addition, there is evidence that what motivates and de-motivate individuals at wok differs based on their cultural background. That said, there are however a few key general trends that anyone can and should follow to build motivation in the workplace.

Creating a great company culture; when creating a culture, there are different values, but I would recommend to at least include respect, honesty at a minimum. Also, remember that creating a culture isn't about putting words on paper; it's about following these values in your day to day activities and decisions.

Set clear and reasonable expectations; People like to do a good job and therefore they need to know when they are doing a good job or when they aren't. If you set clear expectations, they will know if they are achieving them or not. Reasonable expectation means that again, you need to know your staff and what they are capable of, and then set the expectation based on that knowledge.

Provide regular positive feedback; even when one or more of your staff isn't reaching the expectations that you have set, take the time to provide them with some feedback on what went well. Coach and mentor them on the items that didn't go so well, this will turn a stressful situation for them, and you, into a positive one for everyone.

Use the appropriated leadership style for the situation and individual you are leading at the time you are leading them. As a starter, know when to be autocratic or when to be using a facilitative style.

Share your thoughts

Sharing your motivating thoughts or your motivational tips will benefit every leader. Motivation is what give them the energy to constantly seek to improve their self-motivation as well as motivating other. Consequently increase our leadership influence.

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