As I work with clients to strengthen their teams and to make their
businesses more profitable, I often encounter some serious
misunderstandings of human nature. These misunderstandings usually lead
business leaders in the wrong direction when they attempt to inspire
their employees to perform at a higher level. Fortunately, you can
avoid these pitfalls if you understand a few key points about the
people you lead.
1) They are not motivated by money alone
In numerous studies conducted over the last fifty or sixty years,
researchers have concluded money is not the prime motivator for most
people. Yes, people work for money -- but it is not their biggest
One famous model of behavior - Maslow's hierarchy of needs -
yields a clue as to why this is true. In summary, Maslow's hierarchy
says that all of us have five basic needs (physiological, safety &
security, social, esteem, and self-actualization). According to Maslow,
"a need once met no longer serves to motivate." If you have your
physiological needs met (food, shelter, & clothing), more of the same
will not inspire you to work harder.
Employers help people meet their physiological needs with money. More
money will not necessarily get people to work harder.
It is true that some people work harder for more money, but many will
not. If you want to inspire high-level performance, you've got to dig
deeper. You must work to understand what motivates each person on your
2) They don't want their worth determined by the number of hours they
are at work
I once heard a business owner say, "An entrepreneur is someone who
will work 80 hours a week for themselves so that they don't have to
work 40 hours a week for someone else." I have found this statement
to be very accurate.
Many people believe that what motivates them also motivates others.
When it doesn't, they often get frustrated and confused.
Remember that your business is your dream, not your employees' dream.
They probably want to do a good job, but they don't want you to
evaluate them based on the number of hours they spend in your business.
Reward them based on the quality and/or quantity of work they produce.
Reward them for the service they provide to customers. Don't use
"face time" as a measure of their worth.
3) They want to feel like part of a team
Most people want to be part of something great. Create an environment
where people feel like they are part of something bigger than
themselves, and they will respond favorably. Reward individual
performance, but build the team. Avoid competition within your team at
all costs. You want your team competing together to win your business
competition. You don't want them fighting each other.
4) They want you to respect them
I've seen many entrepreneurs start a business to avoid an
organization or a person who treats them with disrespect. Funny -- I
often see these same people treat their employees with disrespect when
they become the boss. What happened?
5) They want you to value their opinions
The studies that show money is not a prime motivator also find that
people want their supervisor to show appreciation for their
contribution at work. Show your appreciation and value their input.
Your employees will truly be your greatest asset.
6) They want to make a difference
People like to do things that matter. People need to feel like their
contribution helped the team. Show your people how their work made a
difference to team results, and you'll likely tap into their internal
7) They want your business to succeed
Most people realize that they are unemployed if your business fails.
They don't want that any more than you do. Listen to them. Learn from
their insights. They may not have your monetary investment in the
business, but they do have a big stake in your success.
There you have it. Seven things you need to know about employees. As I
look back over the article, I see that it begs the question "What
about people who don't want to be part of a team?" or "What about
the employee who doesn't want to make a difference?" I know
they're out there, but I don't believe they represent a majority of
the population. If you have an employee who doesn't care, why are
they still your employee? Don't waste your time on people who really
don't want to contribute. Find someone who does and apply these seven
tips to working with them.
Copyright 2006 . QUESTA