Most organizations run on rulings that are passed down to the staff from top management; this is demotivating. In contrast, delegating powers traditionally kept at the top not only motivates, but also raises everyone’s levels of performance.
In most cases, people are experts in their jobs, having improved their skills over time, and they are perfectly capable of both suggesting improvements and implementing those changes. Use these people when seeking improvement. If their knowledge is ignored, staff become demotivated by the neglect, and resistant to change imposed from outside. Consult with those affected before making changes, and encourage them to take full responsibility for redesigning their jobs.
Being managed is not in itself a motivating experience. If you are a wise stimulating manger, those who work for you will be well motivated. However, the more authority is retained at the top, the lower motivation will be. Staffs become used to depending on their manager’s decisions and authorization, blunting their own initiative and making them dependent. Exercise authority, but not unnecessary force, to achieved desired results. Sharing authority helps to develop people’s own talents. Delegate downwards any tasks that you do not have to do yourself. Look also for whole areas of authority that can be delegated, but always retain overall control.
The ideal career path is smooth and clear of obstacles. Such a path can be highly motivating: encouraging your staff to follow it by offering them the support they need to develop the abilities that will ultimately take them on and up.
One of the best ways of helping staff in their career progress is by using short-term “assignments”, which give people the chance to show both their mettle and their ability. Opportunities of this type are fewer under the old-style, hierarchical methods of career development in which people stay in one job for a set length of time before moving up the ladder. Look out for any chance to broaden staff confidence and experience by giving people tasks, either singly or in a group, that lie outside their normal work. Take an interest their progress, and debrief often. While your staffs are learning, you learn what they can do.
Most people, possibly unconsciously, undergo a process of self-actualization, moving by trial and error towards the field that suits them best and in which they can achieve to the utmost of their ability. As they grow out of one “phase”, they move on. Most people start out with a narrow range of skills and interests; as that broadens, so will their career path. Perspectives will shift, too, from short to long-term. As confidence increases, so will self-control and self-awareness. Watch for these signs, and accentuate the positive through regular communication. Ensure that personal goals and the job remain in step, or the person will lose motivation and you will probably lose the person.
GETTING THE MOST FROM TRAINING
Training can be an end in itself. Learning to learn develops the mind and objectivity. It is used, as well, in terms of personal development, offering a sense of growth. However, the day-to-day work of an organization also provides plenty of practical reasons for training people. For example, if your company is moving from selling commodities to marketing consumer goods, try to ensure that you and your staff are fully trained in modern marketing techniques. Make sure that skills acquired in training can be used directly in the job. This will overcome the familiar “re-entry” problem of the trained individual, bursting with the newly acquired knowledge, who meets resistance when trying to implement the new-found information, gets frustrated, and gives up. This is most demotivating.
- Ensure that your staffs do not suffer under externally imposed limitations.
- Find out about a job from the person doing it
- Find an assignment for anyone who has not had one in the past year.
- Encourage your staff to enroll for regular training – it will pave the way to future success.
- Do not underuse people – it causes them as much stress as overuse.
- Utilize as many of each person’s skills as possible.
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