Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Getting The Best Out Of An Employee

“My subordinate is not performing as expected”, “I don’t know how to motivate my people”, “Why can’t I get my people to feel happy about work ? “
All the above remarks are nothing new in the workplace for supervisors who have to motivate the people who work with them. There are many reasons for having difficulties in motivating employees. Among them are:-
• Lack of knowledge about motivational factors
• Lack of interest, ability and creativity in gathering feedback from employees
• Lack of skills in motivating employees
• Lack of interest in identifying employees personality

How To Be A Good Motivator?
STEP1 : Ascertain How You View Employees
The supervisor must first reflect on how he views employees. Does he view employees following Douglas McGregor’s Theory X which views employees as people who needs close supervision as they are lazy and do not think. On top of that the employees are only interested in money and must be coerced to produce work?
Does the supervisor view employees following Theory Y which views employees as people who like to work and has self control, are creative, mature and their self fulfillment is as important as money.
There also a Theory Z that is expounded by William Ouchi. This theory views employees as people who wants long term employment, collective decision making, has individual responsibility, moderately specialized career path and want holistic concern for their family.
STEP 2 : Find Out What Motivates Your Employee
Knowing and being truthful about how you view employees as a whole will influence the sort of approach that would be used to motivate the employees.
The supervisor must also find out WHAT sort of NEEDS that the employee is looking to fulfill.
A basic source of information for this Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs which outlines that people have 5 levels of needs namely; Basic needs, Security and Safety needs, Belonging Needs, Ego Status Needs and Self Actualization Needs.
Knowing the level of need will help the supervisor to identity the suitable approach to employ. It may be the “Carrot and Stick” approach or the “Growth and Change” approach.

STEP 3 : Employ Some Rules of Motivation At The Workplace
In this step, the supervisor must employ several key rules of motivation in his workplace namely;
• Look for the best in the employee
• Challenge the employee to excel in his job
• Help employees to deal with failures and rejection
• Recognize and applaud the employees achievement
• Give positive and constructive reinforcement
• Build group morale
• Use models to encourage success
Each of these rules, if employed or is practiced at the workplace by the supervisor, they will definitely be able to motivate their employees to achieve the organizational goals. On top of this employees will have a sense of belonging to the organization and this in turn will propel them to higher level of achievement.
In summary, motivating employees is not a one-off exercise nor is it a simple task. It is something that supervisors needs to believe in and worked at continuously. The good news is of course, all these can be learnt. Nothing is impossible. Only you make it impossible!

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