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We've all dreaded going to our 9 to 5 jobs, for many more reasons than one. For starters, the pay rate sucks. Not to mention, more often than not, the people you work with also suck. Many managers and top-tier leaders often want to get the job done as effectively and as efficiently as possible. This can lead to negligence amongst the employees and the contingent workforce, which, from personal experience, really sucks. And how could I forget the immense pressure that is laid upon workers to get their jobs done? My mom had her role in the workplace threatened by her boss on the daily, which ultimately made her dread her job even more. What about our lives outside of the office? What about our families, our friends, and our significant others? How are we supposed to sustain healthy relationships with the ones we love when we're staying extra late at the office everyday? Two words: This. Sucks.
But imagine if your work environment and culture was self-motivating, creative, and fun. What a concept!
As a manager, there are a few simple ways to motivate your employees to come to work and do their job to their fullest potential.
First thing's first, let's define motivation.
the process by which a person's efforts are energized, directed, and sustained toward attaining a goal.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Individuals differ in motivational drive, and their overall motivation varies from situation to situation. This may be true, but psychologists have discovered a recurring trend amongst every individual. According to American psychologist Abraham Maslow, every person is a hierarchy of five needs:
- Physiological Needs: such as food, drink, shelter, sex, sleep, and other physical requirements.
- Safety Needs: such as security and protection from harm, and assurance that physical needs will continue to be met.
- Social Needs: such as affection, belongingness, acceptance, and friendship.
- Esteem Needs: such as internal esteem factors (respect, autonomy, and achievement) and external esteem factors (status, recognition, and attention).
- Self-Actualization: such as growth and achieving one's potentials.
In order to achieve the second need, you must initially obtain the first need, and so on. Once a need is substantially satisfied, it no longer motivates. The above five needs must first be met in order for an employee to flourish and live up to their fullest potential.
Now, what are the motivators that truly encourage a workforce and causes utter satisfaction? It's simple.
Let's start with feedback.
During the economic recession, managers had to find ways to motivate low-income employees without using methods of financial reward or gain. They decided to establish a performance-based reward system through input, open communication, encouragement, and common goals, better known as feedback. Feedback is one of the most powerful motivators, especially when it's coming from someone else. This allows employees to know how they're doing, in terms of their job. Criticism can also motivate, when it's constructive and positive. This acknowledges the employee's work, and shows them that you, as the manager, are genuinely interested in helping and pushing them.
You can even motivate employees by giving them a title for their job.
A friend of mine from college was offered a job at school to work for the business department. When she first found out about this opportunity, she was excited, as this was something she could highlight on her resume. After working there for a few weeks, her boss decided to give her the job title of "Business Administrative Assistant," all because she truly deserved the recognition. This was an effective way to reward her without spending money on a pay raise or gift. "Employee of the Month" works, too!
Finally, you can show them that you want to be there.
If you've ever played a sport in high school, you know exactly what I mean. When you push yourself to be the best you can be, then your teammates will follow. If you show up to soccer practice looking exhausted and unenthused, you are insinuating that that kind of behavior is acceptable. As a manager, you have to lead the way for your employees to follow. By staying positive, fearless, fun, and determined, this will naturally create a level of trust and comfort amongst the workforce, and will ultimately motivate them.
With a little bit of extra effort, a fun, self-motivating, and creative work environment can be achieved. Your employees will be raving about how much they love their job and their boss!