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Managers often go on course to learn leadership, but good leaders are not necessarily good managers. Leadership is only a one part of being a manager, and while a successful manager needs leadership skills, other abilities are equally important.

Managing to Motivate

An essential foundation for motivation is a positive workplace environment created by you, the manager. Employees have the right to expect fair treatment and understanding. They also expect professional competence, part of which includes delegating tasks in order to increase staff members’ self-management and participation.

Establish a system that is constructive – not obstructive- in which people can hope to perform at their best. Ascertain where your employees’ strengths and interests lie, then delegate responsibilities that will both exploit these and meet the needs of the organization.

Points to Remember

  • A poor system accounts for 85 percent for all underperformance.
  • People will not perform at their best for uncommitted managers.
  • Staff should be treated as friends, allies, partners, and colleagues.
  • It is important to have clear directives from your managers, to help you to give clear orders. 

Treating Staff Well

When considering how best to treat your staff remember an old adage,  “Do unto others as you would be done by”. Demonstrate trust in your staff, and prove yourself worthy of trust. This trust includes, on the part of the manager:

  • Never make promises that you are not able or are not intending to keep. 
  • Never asking others to do anything that you would not do yourself.
  • Ensuring your people know that they can count on your respect and your loyalty, unless and until they prove undeserving.

To the best of your ability, see to it that working conditions, pay and status issues, job security, and working atmosphere are managed promptly and in a way that is comfortable to employees. Deal with personal problems, which arise from time to time, in a sympathetic and positive manner. 

Harnessing Motivation

Motivation depends on having clear objectives, which will be achieved with good management. Since motivation is personal, aim to align staff’s individual drives with the company’s purposes in general and your unit’s in particular.

In “Management by Objectives” (MBO) systems, objectives are written down for each level of the organization, and individuals are given specific aims and targets. The principle behind this is to ensure that people know what the organization is trying to achieve, what their part of the organization must do to meet those aims, and how, as individuals, they are expected to help. This presupposes that the organization’s programs and methods have been fully considered. If they have not, start by constructing team objectives and ask team members to share in the process.


  • Do not just assume you are “visible: – ensure that it is true.
  • If bad results occur, review your own motivation as well as employees’.
  • Show respect to your staff, and they will show it to you.

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Bernard Taiwo
I am Management strategist, Editor and Publisher.