Motivation Theories Part 1
By Dave Gannaway
There are just so many motivation theories available that one could be forgiven at becoming confused. Maslow, Herzberg, Vroom and Alfie Kohn, to mention just four. Yet taking the broader view of someone looking for solutions, it is clear none of them have any recorded experience of applying their motivational theories to real people in real life, none laboratory situations.
This site’s objective is to be of service and as our subtitle suggests, ‘experience makes the difference’. The mortar board, lab coats and motivational theories are replaced with working clothes or coveralls, suggestions and ideas founded in shop-floor experience. I don’t know about you but as a craftsman, in my field I get to feel a little miffed when someone wielding a clipboard and stop watch suggest there is a better/quicker way to do things. Of course, he may be correct, but until he understands that he cannot affect me or any other person, his ideas are likely to fall on stony ground. All motivation is self motivation. That means you can lead but you cannot push . . . or make the horse drink water!
Motivating others who are applying their skills to the job, can be like walking on eggshells! No motivational theories can begin to be effective until there is rapport between the parties. One effective rapport building strategy is to ask, “…with your experience how do you think we could …?” This credits the individual with his skills and builds self-esteem resulting in a more harmonious situation.
Another powerful strategy is to provide the opportunity for staff to show their skills. Lack of motivation can be caused by people who are over qualified or skilled beyond scope of the work in hand . . . just acknowledging that fact can create powerful rapport and cooperation. A concert pianist would soon become bored teaching ‘chop-sticks’ to second graders. Acknowledge his achievements and he will be pleased to be of service.
The most common motivational theories turn to the main reason most people go to work, money. A most effective technique although there comes a time when there is not enough money in the kitty to keep this form of motivation working. Where employees are motivated only in that way there can be repercussion . . . when the money runs-out . . . so does the motivation! This can result in demotivation, resentment, and a whole new can-of-worms.
I have found that the employer who is a familiar site on the shop-floor and talks straight with his employees achieve best results. His staff sees him as a person, like them. Not a shadowy unattainable figure in a remote office.
You may also like these related articles:
Motivation Theories Part 2
Equity Theory of Motivation
Return to Home Page From Motivation Theories Part 1
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