Effective Management: 101
When managers can double as successful motivators, they inspire their employees to get excellent, breakthrough results. There are as many different ways to encourage employees as there are managers trying to inspire them. Some managers sweeten the motivational pot with contests, rewards and bonuses. Others use threats and punishments to keep their employees “in line.” The one common theme that often runs through management, however, is that most managers don’t ask their employees how best to motivate them. Instead, many managers end up playing a guessing game—and often wind up losing.
While experts don’t necessarily agree on all the different ways people respond to incentives, managers can recognize employees’ most common needs, learn how to bring out their drive and steer it to the next level. From my experience in business and consulting, I’ve found that most employees’ “wants” fall into the following four categories:
• Appreciation. Employees want to feel valued by their employers. They want to know they’re important, and that what they’re doing has purpose and meaning. This goes beyond a paycheck—appreciation means your employees feel recognized for their efforts.
• Guidance. Employees seek direction from their bosses so they can successfully meet their responsibilities and their goals. This provides a sense of security, because they’re not just cogs in a machine—they know their employers consider their accomplishments vital. To achieve this, employers must provide measurable standards and expectations for each employee’s position.
• Communication. An employee who isn’t kept in the loop is not a happy employee. In this increasingly unpredictable world, employees want to know what’s occurring in their companies, and when changes will affect their jobs. Managers can accomplish this by “managing expectations” when they ask for employee input. When managers ask for employees’ opinions, the employees should know exactly how much weight their opinions will carry. Managers might consider saying, “I don’t know what top management will ultimately decide, but how do you feel about this issue?”