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DrivIng your people

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WITH the harshness of the present economic realities, there is a tendency among employers to give in to pressures by bearing down on their people and pushing them beyond agreed limits to bring in their desired results. It is important that managers know that this is the worst way to motivate their staff under the present circumstances. You might decide to go to the extreme by linking their performance directly to their results and ultimately retaining their jobs but truth is, you just shot yourself in the foot.The way the solution or way out has evaded you, is the same way it has for your employees. It is okay for all the clear and present danger realities to constantly poke you in the face but doing a ‘get the job done or leave’, style might not exactly be your best option. It might sound funny but truth is they must find within themselves a ‘good reason’ to push and hit their set targets. Sometimes what they need is a lot more than whatever it is you are offering as benefits in the workplace.

It is important you realise that the ability and desire to be motivated either exists or not in the employee.Motivation is fundamental to many aspects of our lives. It is complex and pervasive in its scope and underpins how we understand and treat each other in the workplace.Motivation is the umbrella for explaining why we think and behave as we do.

The word ‘motivate’ comes from motive, which is derived from the, Latin word ‘movere’, meaning to move. It is the inner power or energy that pushes toward acting, performing actions and achieving. It has to do with desire and ambition, and if they are absent, motivation is absent too. It is a desire to achieve a goal with the energy to work towards the goal.

The ability to create an internal/external state that energizes, organises and directs the behavior of an employee is key to their success. In driving them to perform their roles and responsibilities, it is good to look at it from two angles; The ‘Can Do’ and the ‘Will Do’ factors must both be present. Firstly, does the person have the ability and the tools required to succeed? Secondly, is the person willing to do so? An absence of either of the two might just be what is causing the redundancy. A lot of times the successful ones are the ones that are driven to go the extra mile. The drive is what moves someone to action.It is the character to achieve anything in life not minding the quality of the goal to use.

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I conducted a survey as few years back about what drives people in the workplace and unlike what most think, a conducive work environment and dignity in the workplaceranked way above money. It is important that employers know at what point to meet their employees. While mmotivation might be the will to act, the art of motivating self and others starts with learning how to influence individuals’ behaviour. It is the process that accounts for an individual’s intensity, direction, and persistence of effort toward attaining a goal.The employer must help position the employees such that they are able to initiate the right behaviour; they are persistent and continue their effort towards a goal; intensify effort and concentrate all their vigour in pursuing a goal.

The ability to recognise motivated employees is a skill on its own that requires carefulness and diligence. Some of the pointers might include enthusiasm, doing more than average, encouraging others, stretching themselves beyond normal (health) level all in a bid to hit the mark. Employers ought to realise that all employees want to be recognised and ultimately rewarded for their efforts. It will be erroneous to think rewards must always be monetary. An employer that wants to keep their employees on their toes must show the employer that the relationship they maintain goes beyond the walls of the office. On the part of the employees, having secured the job, know that it’s a great place to build yourself and also contribute to the success of the organisation by delivering on promise.

Remember at the interview process, you promised to climb high mountains and swim deep seas once given the opportunity. Perhaps, this is the time to bring all your energy to bear.

Andrew Carnegie says “People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents.” On their own they must be able to find what drives them to achieve. Their drive is supposed to affect the ability to achieve goals and birth action. Great managers will never underscore the importance of people because they have come to understand that their success will come through the people. The successful ones have learned how to energize their people and help maintain their enthusiasm. They will be quick to tell you that their staff are first people then employees and understanding what drives the people is their secret. No matter the size of an organisation, their success depends on their employees. They can make or break it.

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