Overcoming Motivational Fallacies In Corporate Culture

Every organization wants to have productive, satisfied and loyal employees and a lot of time and effort is spent attempting to achieve this goal. Managers and supervisors have a direct opportunity to influence the productivity of their employees but often they go about this incorrectly, assuming they understand motivation, but failing to deliver real results. Here are some commonly held notions about motivation that are truly myths: 

1. Money is an effective motivator

While employees certainly need and want to make a competitive wage, once that wage reaches a certain level and assuming it is a wage that is consistent with others doing similar work, more money really does not motivate. May be hard to believe, but it is true. What employees really want, they say, is recognition for the work they do, an opportunity to contribute ideas and the ability to learn and grow in the job – and perhaps be promoted into new jobs.

“Very often, managers make the mistake of assuming that more money will inspire their team to work harder” says John Rogan of Motivational Speakers. “But the fact is, when employees are treated with more dignity and respected, you will quickly see them go the extra mile. Organizations bring our team of speakers to try and inspire them to work harder when all they want is to be validated and acknowledged by their leaders.”

2. Managers can motivate employees

We like to think so, and certainly managers have an impact on employee motivation, but when it comes right down to it employees must motivate themselves. What managers do is provide the right environment and the right opportunities to nurture the employees’ ability to be motivated.

“The truth is that what managers must do is invest the time to create an opportunity for the employee to find their purpose at the company and feel as if what they are doing makes an impact” says Dan Johnson of Motivation Ping. When a manager does this, then they are playing a role in motivating their employee.

3. A manager doesn’t need to be motivated to have a motivated staff

Managers set the tone for all of those around them. Disgruntled, unhappy managers will have disgruntled, unhappy employees. It is very important for managers to set a positive, motivated tone for employees to observe and replicate. The whole idea of “Do as I say, not as I do” just does not work. People want to be led by example and they are looking to the higher ups to see how they are behaving.

4. Happy employees are productive employees

While this a widely held opinion it is not necessarily true. In fact, happy employees may be very non-productive if they don’t have the training, tools and environment necessary to allow them to perform their jobs effectively. Happy is good but it doesn’t necessarily lead to high performance.

5. Motivators are universal

Not so. One employee could be delighted thqat hte manger cares enough to remember his or her birthday – another might sneer when awarded the Employee of the Year Award. Some employees simply want to do a job and do it well based on their own assessment; others need feedback and confirmation from customers and managers. To find out what motivates employees, it is important to ask them and to not make assumptions based on personal preferences.

Employee needs are changing constantly as the world changes around them. To be effective in motivating employees, managers must be constantly alert for these changes and should spend time interacting with employees frequently to best understand their needs.