A productive workforce consists of employees that are willing and able to successfully do their jobs – however, much of that depends on the management’s role in those processes; leaders who motivate their staff to do well typically see greater results than those who do not.
However, motivating employees is not always easy; different people respond to different motivations.
There are certain strategies that can work for some, if not for others, and knowing them helps managers figure out which ones to implement in their office.
It is helpful to learn theories about motivation to see which can apply better to your team.
Theory X & Y
MIT social psychologist Douglas McGregor developed two opposing theories about human motivation in the 1960s.
He believed that a manager’s inherent beliefs about employee motivation will influence what kind of leader he will be, and how he will treat his staff.
Theory X assumes that all individuals naturally do not like to work, and don’t like to take on responsibility; as a result, they need to be tightly controlled, directed and overseen.
This mentality gives rise to the authoritative leader who micromanages.
Theory Y, on the other hand, believes that workers can be self-motivated if they are happy and committed to the job.
Managers who take this view are more democratic, decentralising the power and allowing staff to work individually.
Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory
Social psychologist Frederick Herzberg developed this theory in the 1950s and 60s after interviewing workers about their job satisfaction.
He grouped certain factors as “hygiene,” and claimed that workers must have these factors in order not to be dissatisfied; these include company’s processes and policies, salary, working conditions and relationships with management and staff.
If these are met, then the employees will not be dissatisfied, but they will still not be fully satisfied.
In order to be satisfied and motivated at perform at their best, factors such as achievement, perceived value, responsibility, and potential for growth must be met.
Basically, this theory states that the basic needs of employees are not enough to truly motivate them to do their job; while they will not be dissatisfied if they work in a clean and safe environment, unless they are mentally invested in their work through the opportunity to advance and be challenged, they will not be satisfied enough to be motivated to try hard.
Motivation is required when leaders believe their employees can work harder or better, but are not doing so.
In order to extract their best possible efforts, managers need to motivate employees to do a better job.
Need other ways to motivate your employees? Here are some articles that will help
Head of Training and Development
Originally published: 5 November, 2015
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