|PERSONAL SUCCESS Motivate Your Team to Reach Goals
Leaders fill many different types of positions and perform widely diverse functions. However, the chief task of leadership is the same for all: to motivate people who will then use their ss and effort to achieve the goals of the organization. The operative word in that definition is motivate.
The attention given to motivation is not new. Since the first recorded history, leaders have attempted to discover new ways to attract the willing cooperation of others. Records of their attempts—along with accounts of their successes and failures—have filled countless volumes, but all of the different methods discovered can be sorted into three basic categories: fear, incentive, and attitude.
Motivation through fear
The oldest method of motivation is fear. In primitive society the strongest person became the ruler. Physical strength was originally the source of power, and weaker members of the group followed orders because they feared the physical punishment that was sure to result from refusal to conform.
As society became more organized, other types of power came into play: Social, economic, and political pressures forced obedience. Even today, the attempt persists to use fear to motivate people to behave in desired ways.
Families and schools try to control children with the threat of punishment—either actual physical punishment or withholding of privileges. The threat of punishment is the basis of our criminal justice tem. Fear is even used in the business world. Rules and policies threaten various sanctions for undesirable behavior all the way from a memo of censure placed in the personnel file to denial of increased pay to outright dismissal.
Motivation through incentive
Although fear is often a powerful motivator, many would-be leaders who lacked the personal power to demand obedience looked for other methods of producing the cooperation they wanted.
They realized that every behavior is the result of a desire either to gain a benefit or to avoid a loss. Since they lacked the power to enforce a threatened loss, they offered an incentive— the promise of some gain to those who complied.
Incentive motivation is generally regarded as a more enlightened strategy than fear. Families and schools use the promise of rewards to coax children to perform. Organizations offer people awards, prizes, and privileges for certain achievements.
Motivation through attitude
The master method of motivation is attitude. When people are willing to perform because they personally believe that a particular course of action is right, they are self-motivated. It is then unnecessary for anyone else to “motivate” them.
All three of these basic approaches to motivation have been available since the early nings of organized society. Both fear and incentive motivation have consistently proven to be temporary because they are external.
Fear ceases to exist if the power to inflict punishment is gone. But it also ceases to motivate action if people find out they can live with the punishment, or that the threat of punishment is not likely to be carried out. A team member who is careless about following established procedures learns that the only punishment is an angry reprimand; it may be easier to tune out the lecture than to follow the rules exactly. Fear is successful as a motivator only if the pressure is constant and power to punish is exercised.
Incentive motivation loses its power when the promised rewards are perceived either as unattainable or as unappealing. When employees consistently earn a promised reward over a period of time, that reward is expected. It no longer appears desirable enough to inspire extra effort. In fact, it is soon looked upon as a right instead of a special reward. Incentives must become progressively more impressive to continue to motivate.
Both fear and incentive motivation fall short because they are externally controlled and temporary. Attitude motivation, on the other hand, is a permanent force for producing desired behavior. It has the additional advantage of being internally produced and controlled. It continues to be effective whether the individual is working alone or in a group.
Attitude motivation grows out of the individual’s dreams and desires. It is a function of the need to belong, to achieve, and to use the innate talents with which the individual is owed. Motivating people is basically a matter of showing them how to develop the power of self motivation and then demonstrating to them the desirability of using that power to accomplish a purpose.
Admittedly, it takes longer to start the process of achievement in your organization through attitude motivation than you might produce through either fear or incentive. But once team members have experienced the sense of fulfillment that comes through the use of attitude motivation, they are permanently sold on making full use of their potential.
Understanding Human Behavior
Understanding human motivation enables you to achieve results through people, while understanding team members and their behavior implies that you care about them and have their best interests at heart. Investing the time and effort required to understand human behavior and to motivate employees offers readily observable benefits:
• Reduction in personnel turnover
• Identification of effective motivational leadership methods
• Increase in employee productivity, creativity, and loyalty.
Human beings are complicated, and there are no simplistic rules for understanding their behavior. Certain principles, however, provide insight into why people behave in certain ways. One way of looking at human behavior is to see it as caused by needs and wants. These needs and wants can be classified into four types that might be called the Four P’s:protection, pleasure, profit, and pride
The need for protection is expressed in the universal desire for a feeling of security, safety, and protection from danger, from confusion, from domination and loss of freedom, from pain and poor health, and from uncertainty. This need is also expressed in a desire for a feeling of freedom from all kinds of loss—including loss of status, reputation, time, money, or opportunity. In very practical terms, this need demands that team members perform at their best, yet feel free from the fear of losing their jobs at the whim of an unpredic leader.
Pleasure reflects the need and desire for comfort, convenience, companionship of others, or participation in enjoyable activities. Pleasure also includes feelings of assurance and a sense of belonging. Receiving attention fulfills a pleasure need because we all want recognition and approval from others. A sense of achievement is also an important pleasure need; all of us want to feel that we are capable of accomplishing and completing worthwhile goals.
The desire for profit is seen in the concern for monetary gain, increased earnings, and other financial advantages. Some individuals are motivated more than others by the desire for profit, but nearly everyone has this need to some extent. Thrift and avoidance of waste are also expressions of the desire for profit.
A sense of pride is fostered by feelings of self-esteem as well as feelings of significance and respect from others. As you treat others in ways that make them feel good about themselves, you are meeting their need for pride. People want to feel respected, to enjoy equality with others, and to achieve prestige in groups they consider important.