Reality Check: What’s wanted in workplaces? (cont’d)

What do business owners or managers want from their workers? One answer is “motivated employees.”

Regardless of whether the business creates products or sells services, ultimately, its success depends on the work of employees. Their motivation is key.

Managerial theories abound on how to “motivate” employees so they will do what you want them to do, and perhaps even do it with enthusiasm! 

The choice theory point of view, however, recognizes that for each one of us, motivation comes from within.

Let’s pretend for the moment that I’m your boss, and I’ve just had a brainwave about how to promote the business. It involves requiring you to sing on the sidewalk outside the storefront!

Now, if that activity doesn’t appeal to you, I cannot “motivate” you to want to do it. Your motivation is under your control.

However, as your boss, I may be able to bribe you, threaten you, or coerce you into singing. Of course, a paycheque can be a compelling stimulus, and that alone may be enough to keep you singing for a while.

But if this initiative is going to attract customers, then what I need from you is not just your work (the singing). I also need your enthusiasm, engagement, and interest in doing the job in such a way that customers want to flock to the business.

How can I get that from you? Not by external reward and punishment, according to choice theory. Instead, I need to tap into your inner motivation, which is connected to those basic needs that are common to us all.

A workplace where employees get their needs satisfied can be a particularly motivating place to work.

Take, for example, the need for achievement and power. Did my ordering you to sing, regardless of your wishes, enhance your feelings of self-worth? Not likely. Did it inspire any behind-the-scenes grumbling? Almost certainly. Did it increase anyone’s productivity? You be the judge.

What approach might lead to higher motivation? I could ask your opinion. What activities do you think  would help attract customers? If you offer the ideas, then you may also be enthusiastic, internally motivated, and eager to prove them.

Similarly, internal motivation is associated with feeling connected to the organization. When employees feel secure that they will succeed if the business succeeds, internal motivation can increase. However, if the environment is one where workers sense that they are treated as disposable, their employers will likely never see their best work.

Managers who perceive that their employees don’t care may want to ask themselves, “Do I want my employees to feel like they belong? Or would I rather keep them on edge so they don’t get too comfortable?”

In his book, “Employee Motivation: What to do when what you say isn’t working” Dr. Bob Wubbolding states, “Motivated employees succeed in their work.” Folks who work in an environment where their basic needs are being satisfied will feel more content, and will therefore be more successful.

Do you think it’s helpful for the business when an employer makes efforts to ensure that employees feel content, with their needs satisfied?

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