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How Do I Motivate My Employees?

Alex Lopes asked:

Have you ever watched those horse races where all the horses are on field sprinting towards the finish except for one who simply won’t leave the stable? The jockey can do all he or she wants, but that horse is not going anywhere.

Now think about your position as a manger. Do you share in the pain that this jockey feels? Do you have staff members who are not motivated? It seems like they only do what they need to do to keep their job…if that. Delegating a critical project to them would be a grave mistake unless you don’t want it to get done.

You cannot motivate your staff, yet they are motivated for their own reasons. Understanding how each staff member is motivated can be the difference between the horse in the stable and the horse that wins the Kentucky Derby.

There are four types of staff people when it comes to motivation: Carrie Control, Robert Recognition, Susan Security, and Andy Accuracy.

Carrie Control. How do we motivate her? She often seems to overstep her boundaries. In meetings, she has checked out to the point that she brings other work with her…work that isn’t even job related. She runs the other people over on your staff. And she is very angry. Everyone has learned not to mess with her. It seems like Carrie Control has one thing on her mind…goals. But not company goals. Her goals.

When Carrie was hired, she was an all-star contributor. She got more done than anyone else. She worked long, hard hours. She was the first in the office and the last one out. These days, she is far from that. How do we motivate Carrie Control?

The way to motivate Carrie Control is to give her what she wants. She wants control. If you give her control, she will become the winning horse at the Kentucky Derby. If you take it away from her, she will be the horse in the stable.

Practical ways of giving Carrie what she wants (control) are the following: authority, varied activities, prestige, freedom, assignments promoting growth, “bottom-line” approach, and most importantly, opportunity for advancement.

If you are curious why Carrie Control become such a resistant, unmotivated employee, it is because of the following two reasons: She either had been taken advantage of, or she experienced loss of control. Guard those things and make sure that she doesn’t experience them.

Robert Recognition. How do we motivate him? He often yells or talks about people behind their back. He doesn’t work. He is busy talking. He can turn the work place against you…and it isn’t pleasant. He can be cutting or insulting and say it in a way that you can’t respond. It seems like Robert Recognition has one thing on his mind…talk. He would rather talk than work on company goals.

When Robert Recognition was hired, he was an all-star contributor. He inspired people to work hard. He communicated the vision of the department and was instrumental in getting everyone on the same page. These days, he is far from that. How do we motivate Robert Recognition?

The way to motivate Robert Recognition is to give him what he wants. He wants recognition. If you give him recognition, he will become the winning horse at the Kentucky Derby. If you take it away from him, he will be the horse in the stable.

Practical ways of giving Robert what he wants (recognition) are the following: social esteem and acceptance, freedom from details and control, people to talk to, positive working conditions, recognition for abilities, and opportunities to motivate and influence others.

If you are curious why Robert Recognition became such a resistant, unmotivated employee, it is because of the following two reasons: He either had experienced rejection or loss of social approval. Guard those things and make sure that he doesn’t experience them.

Susan Security. How do we motivate her? She passive aggressively resists doing work. She comes up with excuses on why she can’t do something. She calls in sick often…maybe too often. She will agree outwardly to take on responsibilities, but she inwardly yields and doesn’t complete the task. She is a yes-man. She says yes, but doesn’t follow through. She doesn’t give effort to company goals.

When Susan Security was hired, she was an all-star contributor. She developed relationships on the team. She was easily counted on to get things done. She was great at following through. She developed positive relationships with the rest of the team. She supported your team goals. These days, she is far from that. How do we motivate Susan Security?

The way to motivate Susan Security is to give her what she wants. She wants security. If you give her security, she will become the winning horse at the Kentucky Derby. If you take it away from her, she will be the horse in the stable.

Practical ways of giving Susan what she wants (security) are the following: security in all situations, sincere appreciate, repeated work patterns, time to adjust to change, limited territories of responsibilities, identification in a group, and areas of specialization.

If you are curious why Susan Security became such a resistant, unmotivated employee, it is because of the following two reasons: She either experienced loss of security or was placed in an environment of confrontation. Guard those things and make sure that she doesn’t experience them.

Andy Accuracy. How do we motivate him? He is doesn’t get on board with working towards your goals. He comes up with every possible reason why your initiatives won’t work. He withdraws from the office. Mentally, Andy isn’t there. He is very critical of your work as well as others on the team. He is slow to get things done because he is stuck on the details. It seems like Andy tries to be really slow so that your department can’t reach its goals.

When Andy Accuracy was hired, he was an all-star contributor. He was the quality control guy who made sure everything your department put out looked great with no errors. He solved problems to which no one else could find solutions. You could always count on Andy’s output to be of highest excellence. These days, he is far from that. How do we motivate Andy Accuracy?

The way to motivate Andy Accuracy is to give him what he wants. He wants accuracy. If you give him accuracy, he will become the winning horse at the Kentucky Derby. If you take it away from him, he will become the horse in the stable.

Practical ways of giving Andy what he wants (accuracy) are the following: autonomy and independence, controlled work environment, reassurance, precise expectations and goals, exact job descriptions, and planned change.

If you are curious why Andy Accuracy became such a resistant, unmotivated employee, it is because of the following two reasons: He either experienced criticism of his work or there was a change without data to support the change. Guard those things and make sure that he doesn’t experience them.

If you can give Carrie Control, Robert Recognition, Susan Security, and Andy Accuracy what they need, you are going to have a winning team. If you don’t and they begin to experience the opposite, your team will not get anywhere…because they are still in the stable.

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