What motivates me as a leader?
I attended the NZ Association of Training & Development Conference (NZATD) last week. There’s nothing more motivating than meeting with a group of like-minded people and leaders, who are highly motivated in their field. Surrounding yourself with motivated and inspiring role models is a sure motivator for me.
Another big motivator for me at the conference was playing a major role in a team that won NZATD’s L & D Initiative Award of the Year Award! To be recognised to that degree is highly motivating – makes you feel truly appreciated and respected. Too often people aren’t recognised and appreciated when they do a good job, and feeling unappreciated can be very demotivating. While we don’t have to give awards to make people feel appreciated, just letting them know that a job’s well done, can make all the difference.
Our first speaker at the conference was Colin Cox, Neuro Semantic Master Trainer, Executive Coach and International Speaker, who spoke on “Motivational Theory: What they didn’t want you to know”. Colin’s approach was that some people are using archaic methods of motivating people, and our attitudes to motivating people needs to change.
Different methods have been used to motivate people in the past, one theory being the “carrot and stick” model, in that punishing people stops behaviour (the stick), and rewarding reinforces behaviour (the carrot).
Extensive experimentation and research has been undertaken that shows that with people in “mechanical” roles, the higher the reward the better the performance. However, once the task calls for more than rudimentary cognitive skills, surprisingly, a larger financial reward led to poorer performance. The more the task requires conceptual and creative thinking, the less financial reward seems to drive performance.
In other words, the “carrot and stick” approach only applies to those undertaking mechanical tasks, so a different approach needs to be applied to the rest.
Control Motivation is the traditional method of motivating people. where people are seduced to act in a certain way, and coerced, threatened, bribed and pressured (carrot and stick).
Autonomous Motivation is when employees have a willingness to act, they enjoy mastery and engagement, and their work is aligned with their values and beliefs. In other words, they do the job because want to, and not just to pay the bills.
If you are passionate about your work and aligned with your beliefs, you will achieve self actualisation (Maslow).
This rises far above “carrots and sticks”.
The question we should be asking is not “How can I motivate them?”, but rather “What environment do I need to create, so that they can motivate themselves?
Certainly makes sense to me! What do you think?