Motivation at work - Maslow

What happens if colleagues are not supported or challenged at work?

Support and challenge at work

What happens if colleagues are not supported or challenged at work?

Well this particular paradigm should be useful to everyone that manages people at work. Understanding it builds a culture of team work, up-skilling, objective setting, raising performance and motivation. The model looks at the relationships between support and challenge and the feelings / behaviour that can be seen.

So the grid spans challenge high to low and support high to low.

How does it feel to work in a business where there is a huge amount of challenge, but no support?

Frustration with managementDo you recognise this? It is where the business expects you to go the extra mile every day, where work is piled up on people who are expected to cope, but have no mechanisms to access support.  This is a really bad place to be because the constant pressure you are under has no release. This is where people trip into the bad stress areas, where illness begins with all the personal and business trauma that can cause. At the very least its hugely frustrating and de-motivating.

 

How does this happen?

Often because the employee seems to be doing OK, because they never use their assertiveness skills to say “I need help”, “I can’t cope”, “I don’t understand.” There is a responsibility on the employees behalf to help their manager understand.

There is also a legal, moral and business case why managers need to be monitoring this closely. This keeps productivity, efficiency and effectiveness high, which is what we all want, but doesn’t burn people out.

How does it feel to work in a business where there is a huge amount of support, but no challenge?

On face value many of us would relish this particular outcome. However on examination its not a really good place Manager doesn't Trusteither. This is where you don’t have to make any decisions, you are spoon fed data and information. Anything of value that needs to be done, anything that might make an impact is done by someone else. Usually the manager. It makes us become dependant, unable to assert opinions, fearful of making errors. It de-skills the employee.

How does this happen?

  1. The manager doesn’t want to overload the employee, wants to make sure that they are safe and happy in their work, doesn’t want the person to feel stressed by a task or situation. The manager feels this is a form of kindness to the employee, many managers think its their job to protect the team from everything. The DUVET feeling. Wrap you up carefully so no harm can come to you…. patronising, humiliating and in the long term de-skilling. If you have got children you might recognise this!
  2. The manager simply can’t do without you, but doesn’t TRUST you. This happens frequently in operational business’, where the manager allocates menial tasks to workers and they do them. When any decision needs to be made the employee MUST NOT make it, because the manager loses control…. Positional Power (click for previous blog)  in action.

 

How does it feel to work in a business where there is no support and no challenge?

Staff leave because of poor managersEver had a summer vacation job when a student? This is it. Nothing really to do, no one to supervise you, no one to give you more to do. You are a minion and get paid for being present. You can last a summer holiday, but not much longer. We all need some strokes of recognition, acknowledgement.

Organisations that create this culture haemorrhage staff. People will mark time until a new opportunity shows up then they leave. Frequently without notice, well why would you give any?

How does it feel to work in a business where there is an appropriate amount of  support and appropriate challenge?

How does this feel?

Stimulating, enjoyable, professionally stretching, cared for, invigorating, worth while.Happy at work

The kind of place you work hard in.

The kind of place that’s really good at what it does.

The kind of place you want to be.

HAPPY DAYS!

 

This could be your Business!  Like to have a chat? Email Richard or Paula

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New Years Resolutions – 6 top tips to make them happen

resolutions

This article is aimed at an audience who understands the complexities of change.  It’s for those of you who work in businesses where you are used to discussing and planning how to achieve goals with your staff or paying clients, and generally you are successful at it.  My question to you, is do you practice what you preach?  Do you achieve the equivalent of New Years Resolutions, when it’s a personal goal?  This article is to jog your memory of some of the tools at hand to make these wants or wishes a reality and achievable.

It’s that time of year again, when your motivation levels are high, and you decide to make New Years Resolutions. This may happen due a need for change, high stress levels, a firm resolve or through too much alcohol!  Actually it doesn’t matter how they came about, the question now is can you achieve them?  Generally most of us make some resolutions, and think about how life would be different if only we could stop smoking, be fitter, improve our performance to get that new job or move to a bigger house.  We tend to look at a problem, decide we don’t want that situation any more, make some attempts to stop the problem being a problem, such as try and cut down on the cigarettes, join a gym, enquire about new jobs or begin house hunting, without much thought into really planning to achieve our goals.  We have launched ourselves into meeting our resolutions and if energy and enthusiasm could make it happen, we’d be a non-smoker, at our target weight working as a CEO and living in our dream house by February!  Unfortunately, these two things are not enough, and as you all know, change takes time and emotional energy, and is often difficult to accept.

6 top tips to meet your goals and resolutions

I’ve put together 6 top tips from theories and training tools that should be already familiar to you, to improve your effectiveness in achieving these New Years Resolutions.  Your challenge, is to make these happen!

1  Understand your goal

To do this, you must understand why you’re setting this goal?  Is it you, or are you under pressure from someone or something else?  Do you want to cut down on alcohol because you think you should, for health reasons, or because your partner wants you to? If it’s your objective go ahead and plan how you’re going to achieve it.  If it’s someone else’s, then are you really committed to it?

Secondly, you must understand why you are setting this objective now?  Is it just because it’s the thing to do over New Year, or are there more fundamental reasons for this decision, i.e. job cuts will be made this year so looking to move jobs is proactive, or there are deals on gym memberships that mean taking up exercise will be cheaper now than later on in the year.

2 Know what you can influence

One of the first rules of engaging in changing an aspect of your personal or working life, is to understand what you can influence and what is beyond your control.  There are a variety of methods you can use to examine influence, but the one shown here is the most basic and will give you an initial starting point.

New Years Resolutions 6 top tips to make them happen

Basic Circles of Influence

 You need to ask whether you are completely in control of this objective or are there factors outside of your control that you need to consider?  If you wish to move house, but the housing market is stagnant or prices have dropped, this is outside your sphere of influence and you have no control over it.  As a result, you may have to hold back on looking to move until later on in the year.  However, there may be issues you can influence, such as applying for higher paying jobs in other areas, with a relocation package. If you are the ideal candidate for the job, the company may agree to wait for you to move and give you some control on that time scale.   Check out our previous blog on leverage.

3 Who can support you?

In terms of influencing, you must also be honest about who could influence your objective positively and be supportive, or hold you back, distract you and potentially be detrimental to you reaching your goal?    The diagram shows a simple way to look at your stakeholders, in particular those that have the ability to affect the outcome of your goal setting.  You need to map these stakeholders to the grid so that you can then employ the right tactics to maximise or indeed eliminate their impact. www.stakeholders

Blockers – throw things at you that “block” your progress. When you are trying to lose weight these people constantly say “a little treat won’t hurt….” they are always buying the doughnuts.

Foot Draggers – stall you, take up your time with unnecessary garbage. Similar to the small unwilling child on a shopping expedition.

Networkers – have loads of useful ideas and contacts that you could tap into, but don’t have much power. When you try to quit smoking these guys might have failed themselves, but have great ideas about how to do it, know self help groups and others who have done it.

Allies – have the power and inclination to help you, and could act as a mentor, but you need to manage them carefully.

4 Set clear objectives

Once you have decided on your resolutions or goals, use the SMART mnemonic acronym designed by Peter Drucker to help you set clear objectives.  There are slight variations of the meaning of certain letters and I have used the ones below to help with your personal objective setting.      New Years Resolutions - 6 top tips to make them happen

Put simply, does your target focus on a SPECIFIC area for improvement or is it too vague or too large a leap to make?  Have you included any MEASURABLE factors to show when progress is being made, such as quality, quantity, time, cost or behaviour changes?  These could include you wanting to lose X amount of weight by a certain date, be down to 5 cigarettes a day, researching job/project opportunities across your company by a certain date and so on.  Is your New Years resolution ACHIEVABLE?  Is it appropriate and attainable in the period of time and with the resources you have allocated to it?  Do you have the skills to achieve your goal? How RELEVANT is the goal to you at this time?  There is a difference between wanting to lose weight for yourself or your health, as opposed to being nagged to do so by your partner.  Lastly, have you made the objective TIME-BOUND?  Using a time frame will force you to look at the other components of the acronym and review what can realistically be achieved in the allotted time.

I’ve included a link to the Chartered Management Institute, who have clearly set out this principle and outlined an action check-list and suggested terminology to ensure you get this aspect of planning right.

5 Accept change is difficult

You will need to accept that things will go wrong, and the path of change will not be smooth or easy, if it was, you would have made these decisions before now and followed them through.   When issues happen, have confidence and reflect on the previous tips and remind yourself why you made the resolutions and why it was important for it to happen now.  Refer to Fisher’s Transition Curve in my last article, and click on the link to understand the various emotional states you may go through when making significant changes.  If your resolution is to cut down drinking, smoking or change your diet, also take into consideration any impact the withdrawal from alcohol, nicotine or sugar may have on your mood and energy levels.  What support networks do you have in place to help and encourage you in continuing with your goal when times are difficult, or you encounter problems?  Do you need to adapt your initial goal or resolution? Refer back to your SMART objective and see what needs to be re-defined to allow you to get back on track.

6 Focus on ‘solution-building rather than problem-solving’

This is an aspect of Solution Focused Brief Therapy, and examines what current resources you have available to help you meet your future goals, rather than recycling past problems and getting stuck with current obstacles. Relate it the Strengths and Opportunities boxes on a SWOT Analysis, rather than the weaknesses and threats boxes. It’s about looking forward and moving one step at a time. This is an approach used by counsellors and those involved in the psychiatric field, but I think individuals could use the 0-10 scales or steps to help them plot their progress.  Zero is the worst possible scenario, whilst 10 is the achievement of the goals.  You need to consider where you are in the pursuit of your objective.  I use this ladder approach in coaching and people often find they are at stage 3 or 4 and not 0 as they expected.  What are you already doing to achieve your resolution or goal?  Each time you think of a positive and pro-active action, move up a step.  If you have already decided to give up smoking due to the health benefits, or are looking at low caloric recipes on a food website, you are already on the ladder.  What next small step could you take to help move you nearer to your goal?

Contact me and let me know how you are doing in terms of meeting your New Years resolutions?  Good luck.

 

 

 

Please tweet or email me at paula@professionaldevelopmentpeople.co.uk and

Keeping your little Elves ‘ealthy – 9 Top Management Tips for Santa

Elves

9 Top tips to keep your little Elves ‘ealthy all year round.

 

The season of good cheer is on us! The season of Christmas cards, presents, secret Santa and the office social event.  For most of us this is a bit of fun,  the opportunity to take some time out, to be friendly to those around us, to actually share some feelings with others at work. (click for previous blog on this).

The warm glow of being part of something, of  making an effort, valuing those around you. Wouldn’t it be great to do this all year through? Here are our top tips on achieving Santa’s wonderland in your work place.

Christmas Elves

Santa’s all year sack of gifts

 

Gift 1  – The vision

Be really clear about your expectations of your Elves. What is the overall vision. Share this vision with the Elves as often as you can, so that they know how important it is that the children all get a Christmas gift.

Gift 2 – Check the Elves understand

Allow your Elves to question and understand the vision, often we assume that because we have sent out a message, that the others have received it. How often has Santa got unclear letters from boys and girls? Check, check, check your communication. No one wants to be disappointed on Christmas day.

Gift 3 – Give them specifics, objectives.

Break down the vision into broad aims, attributable to teams of Elves. Show your little helpers that they make a difference and that their hard work is both valued and necessary. Elves should know that good behaviour is really important too.

Gift 4 – Be open to ideas

Create an atmosphere where its OK to question. Have open dialogue with the Elves about the toys they make. How many, what colour, how long and to what quality must they be? When they are successful Santa can deliver on the 24th of December.

Gift 5 – Who is the expert here?

When the Helpers are working hard at their stations TRUST them to make their toys well, they have the skills, they are the experts not you Santa!

Gift 6 – Feedback

Walk around the workshop, not every day but often. Catch those naughty Elves out; doing a good job! Tell them they are on the “nice” list. Reward good performance and behaviour.

Gift 7 – Innovation in the grotto

Every couple of months ask each Elf to sit down with you and talk about their toy making, are there any new toys they could make or better ways to make the old favorites?

Gift 8 – Elves can improve Santa’s performance

When you chat with the little people ask them how they think Santa is doing, they might find this hard at first because Santa is SANTA!. After a while they might really tell you, which is great for the development of your emotional intelligence.

Gift 9 – Reward the Elves

When you sit down for your once a year chat with each Elf, you will be able to give them rewarding gifts, gifts they want, because you have followed all the above Santa management Steps. This will improve motivation and performance. If it does go wrong at least you’ve got your Elf.

 

Merry Christmas from all of us at PDP, Have a happy holiday. When you come back after the break give us a call to help you have lots of Christmas’ in 2015.

To check where Santa is on the 24th December click here

 

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Motivation Part 3 – Your role in keeping your staff motivated!

Keeping your staff motivated

This blog is the third of three examining motivation in the work place. The first examined why we go to work? The second looked at what makes us work willingly and well and discussed Hertzberg’s work on true motivators, whilst this blog  examines what demotivates us in the workplace.

What irritates you at work is likely to be similar to things that irritate others.   In this blog I hope to show what these feelings are based on, and will refer to Hertzberg’s work again, and crucially examine how the manager can stop staff  feeling this way.

Keeping your staff motivated – Understanding what makes them unwell.

My favourite analogy of Hertzberg’s “Hygiene Factors” is as follows: Picture a small isolated town in a warm area. The local authority have a sewerage plant to cater for the needs of the townsfolk. When it works the townsfolk pay it absolutely no attention, they just flush the loo. They remain healthy because there is no chance of contamination from the sewerage works. If the local authority spend millions on the works, new bells and whistles etc, the population DON’T get any healthier, they just carry on flushing the loo! However if the works starts to malfunction the population can become really ill very quickly, and will complain.

That’s the crux of the concept behind the hygiene factors.  There are some things that need to be in place, at a satisfactory level, so that people don’t become demotivated. Hertzberg’s study suggests that these are listed in order of importance:

1 Policies and administration

2 Technical supervision

3 Relationsip with your boss

4 Work conditions

5 Salary

6 Relationships with your peers

Which of these can managers control? At first glance many say that the hygiene factors are “out of their control”, but a closer examination can quickly dispel this notion. Whilst most of us don’t set work based policies and administration procedures, as managers we CAN let others have access to these areas.  We can make staff aware of what is there to protect and enhance their prospects. For example, how many of your colleagues will know that there are paternity rights and what they really are?  How do your colleagues access these? There may be some information around certain polices or procedures around the workplace, much of it may be gossip, rather than based on fact, and this can alienate staff, before the true facts are known. Shouldn’t your job as the manager be to inform them of this information, or how they could access the relevant documents?

Technical supervision usually falls into two camps, either you am the expert, and feel you should know everything about the task, as the company employed you for the role! Or OMG the staff know more than I do, so I’ll have to blag it! Why not be honest and open?  Share your expertise and recognise innovation can come from innocent questions like “Why do we do this?”

Hertzberg identifies having a work based relationship with your boss, as being necessary and expected. This is not about pub time (but that can be good),  but it’s about being  listened to, being spoken to, being allowed to contribute. Even if the person is consistently wrong, killing of ideas, kills off business and can alienate staff.

Work conditions are important.  Mangers don’t usually paint the office, control air conditioning, or sort out car parking. However, the best ones will make sure that everyone knows why the office hasn’t been painted, why it’s a bit too warm and why the car park is flooded. Sharing information is vital to building up good working relationships, and for staff to see the manager as honest and trustworthy.

Similarly, mere mortals in companies  do not get to set the level of staff salary, BUT as a manager you can make sure that people are paid accurately, paid on time and that their holiday leave is booked properly etc.

If people are having a difficult time with their colleagues, but still trying to  do a good job, they need support.   How long can you really expect them to keep going if the office atmosphere is fraught with tension? Mangers must keep an eye on work place relationships. Ignore them at your peril.

The previous blog looked at true motivators, such as achieving at work, being recognised for your contribution, as well as experiencing a sense of personal growth, and it’s pretty obvious that a lack of these things are not great for staff motivation.  What brilliant managers need to think about, is what is within their sphere of influence?  What will keep the sewage plant working so that the population will stay well!  It may seem a thankless task, but it’s necessary.

 

 

Motivation Part 2

Building on the previous blog which looked at Maslow’s study in determining why people go to work. In this article, I’m going to reflect on what makes people work hard willingly and well. In my experience it isn’t money!

In the 1960’s Frederick Hertzberg undertook a study into workplace motivation, and his findings were published under the title ‘One More Time, How Do You Motivate Employees?’ which still hold true today.

Hertzberg identified the following “True Motivators”

1) Achievement

2) Recognition

3) The work itself

4) Responsibility

5) Advancement

6) Personal Growth

In the previous article, we discussed the door to motivation being “locked from the inside”, and that the best managers can have the keys to unlock motivation in others.  As managers and leaders we need to be aware of these keys so that we can empower our colleagues to work hard willingly and well. In practice, what sort of things can we do in addition to communicating effectively with our colleagues?

 

1) Achievement

A successful manager will ensure staff have the resources and skills necessary to meet or exceed their objectives. It is offering support and monitoring progress towards set goals. A good manager will remove roadblocks, resourcing issues and other trivia to allow their team member to achieve.

 

2) Recognition

The manager recognises the staff member’s hard work, and acknowledges this privately or sometimes publicly. Teams should be encouraged to celebrate the successful work undertaken by one of their members. This positive environment allows individuals to feel pride and confidence in their work, and will motivate them to continue producing similar results. Manager need to factor time into their diaries to actively do this. Telling someone “that’s what you’re paid for…” is a massive wasted opportunity.

 

3) The Work Itself

Many of us just love doing the job.   We receive enormous satisfaction from a job done well, (see link below to Dan Pink). There are plenty of people that feel this way about their role, despite the fact that managers may try to interfere in the work process, by controlling or stifling staff efforts. What might happen if managers positively challenged people to really excel? To really do the best they could?

 

4) Responsibility

A manager’s role to let staff get on with their tasks in a supported and resourced way. Why do some managers keep hold of particular tasks that should or could be delegated to others? Fear? The thought that they might be seen as lazy? Concern the other person might do a better job? Get the keys to motivation out! Delegate appropriate work formally with a clear explanation as to why, and ensure it’s not seen as dumping! If transferred correctly, this level of responsibility could be motivating.

 

5) Advancement

In the previous blog we examined the idea that status and being seen as an expert were important reasons why some people went to work. Herzberg highlighted the possibility of advancement as a key motivating factor. For many people the challenge of progressing in a team or company, with the chance of promotion, not matter how slim or distant, encourages them to work harder and to engage more fully with tasks. Managers should make staff aware of these possibilities and how individuals can attain them.

 

6) Personal Growth

It is hugely motivating to be able to do something one week that seemed impossible the week before. Personally, having learnt to plaster a piece of wall a couple of weeks ago, together with having the recognition of this achievement from others inspired me to continue developing my DIY skills. I also felt personal pride in my work. Managers need to recognise individual’s areas of personal or professional development, and offer their praise.

 

Hertzberg’s True Motivators are as important today as they were in 1968. The best managers and leaders know this and keep the keys close to hand. Everyone’s motivation to engage in work related tasks is slightly different, but an excellent leader can influence by using the six top True Motivators.

Dan Pink develops this further at the link below. My next blog will be about what dissatisfies us most at work and how the good manager can influence them.

 

Motivation Part 1

motivation part 1

This blog entry is one of three. In this one, I am going to look at one theory of what motivates us to work? The next blog will address what motivates us to work hard willingly and well and the third what demotivates us at work?

Having been involved in the professional development of people for nearly 30 years, I can categorically tell you that if someone doesn’t want to be motivated by external forces, they won’t be. I can also be pretty certain that the KITA school of motivation (Kick in the A***), will get a person to do a task, but not without resentment, and certainly won’t encourage them to do it of their own free will.

Previously we have looked at how power might be played out at work. The KITA approach can be used with Coercive Power, as well as Positional and Social Power abuse and can therefore be unpalatable to the receiver. These approaches will get the job done, but won’t necessarily encourage someone to continue to do the task of their own free will, or empower them to do able to do it.

So, what will motivate them? The saying “the door to motivation is locked from the inside” is true. As managers and colleagues in the work place, we have to understand why different staff members do their jobs. There must also be recognition that what may motivate one person, may not do so for another. This is obviously complex, but the premise we will examine in this article, is based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, in which five levels of human need are portrayed as a pyramid.

In today’s society, most people go to work because they need the money. I read recently that many people are “only four months of no income away from the breadline”. If that is true then Maslow’s ‘Physiological/Biological’ first or most basic level is probably achieved in 2014 by having a steady income, which allows us to buy food and pay for a warm shelter.

The level of income may well then allow his second stage to be achieved, where we need to address ‘Safety/Security‘ needs. We will have the money needed to pay the mortgage or rent, be able to keep our home secure, and perhaps be able to save to allow a monetary buffer, if work becomes unstable or the cost of living rises.

I come across many colleagues who are quite financially stable, mortgages paid off, kids flown the nest, to whom money is not the main driver to come to work. So what is? Cast your mind back to the halcyon days of school. What was the motivator to go? Well, the basic two reasons as discussed above, were met by your parents (or whoever provided for you). So, apart from going to school because it was compulsory, what else motivated you? The majority of us went to see friends, to socialise, to build social networks and perhaps find a relationship (help with that @therealme_PDP).

Similarly, many of us go to work because we like the social aspect of it. The third level in Maslow’s hierarchy focuses on ‘Belonging and Love‘, in which the majority of people need, and relish, being part of a team, belonging to a group, having the camaraderie that can come from working with the same people each day. I meet colleagues who are working far longer than their paid working day. When this is examined, it is not always because they are genuinely overloaded, but more about being part of something that has a purpose.

If your life has that social aspect away from work, you might need something else to motivate you in the workplace. In my expanding work with graduates, on Graduate or Government based Fast Stream programmes, I see this more and more. Financially these new entrants may be reasonably secure, socially very active and happy, so they use work to achieve something else. Maslow’s fourth level of the pyramid focuses on ‘Self-Esteem and Sense of Achievement‘. This is where the workplace is used to gain status or respect, as an individual becomes recognised for being really good at something. People may want to be seen as being the fixers, the experts, and to use work as a place to begin building professional reputations, which in turn will enhance their self-esteem and confidence.

Maslow’s highest level is described as ‘Self Actualisation / Self-fulfilment’. This is when your behaviour is driven by your desire for personal growth and fulfilment, rather than external factors or pressures. Many people will spend most of their lives striving to reach this level, and maybe there is something to be said for retirement, in which people feel they have the time and financial resources to really engage in the activities they wish to do, regardless of how crazy they may sound!

If you agree with Maslow’s theory, then each of these different levels will need to be understood, in order to motivate yourself or others at work. To paraphrase Ricky Gervais “you can’t learn the cello when you are eating out of bins!”

Next Blog – What makes us work hard, willingly and well!
Richard