Motivation is what drives people to work towards their goals. Employees require positive motivation for the success of an organization. The role of a manager is to create ample working conditions for the employees. The manager has to motivate the employees but this is not always an easy task. There has been a lot of research on motivation, but the topic still remains unclear to many corporate. The reason why people don't know how to motivate effectively is because they do not understand human nature. A clear understanding of human nature will enable managers to propel their employees to success.
Why is there a need to motivate workers? This is a question that is relevant for a manager to achieve his objectives (Lussier, 2008). Research has clearly indicated that motivated employees have a higher performance than those who are not motivated. Performance is dependent on two factors, ability and motivation. Ability is acquired from academics, job training, and work experience. Ability develops slowly as one becomes more experienced. However, motivation can be quickly acquired through numerous ways. Not everyone is born motivated, so motivation is a skill that must be learnt for the success of an organization.
There are many avenues for motivating employees, and it is the responsibility of the manager to apply the most suitable methods. Examples of motivation strategies are rewarding employees based on their performance and treating them fairly. Fair pay and decent working conditions create a pleasant working environment for workers. Managers can also restructure the jobs for the employees and set realistic work related goals. The motivation method used must always be suitable to the company and its abilities. There is always a gap between the current state of the employee and state that is desired by the employer. Motivation is the tool used to fill this gap (Gunkel, 2006).
Motivation is a responsibility of the management team. A manager must have all the necessary information concerning the employees to choose a suitable motivation approach. However, managers are not able to access all the necessary information because they do not have much time at their disposal. These limitations cause ineffective management. There are several motivation theories that have been explained. Sigmund Freund came up with the stick and carrot motivation theory. Sigmund believed that people are lazy, and they do not like to work. People must be coerced and threatened with punishment for them to achieve the set targets. However, this theory has proved to be ineffective because manager would have to devote all their time as they supervise their staff. Application of authoritarian approach does not yield satisfactory performance for both managers and employees. There is little creativity as the employees are not inspired to be creative (Hoffmann, 2007).
McGregor formulated the theory that human beings always willing to learn and to explore new things. In his theory, he elaborates that people love working, and they develop self discipline. People also desire to advance in the work place and to take up new challenges. The theory holds that people value self development more than they value money. It is the responsibility of managers to guide and encourage self actualization of their workers. This theory sounds very idealistic and too optimistic, but it can be successful if both parties are sincere. The managers have to enjoy watching employees develop and must give them the freedom to grow.
Abraham Maslow developed theories which had sharp contrast to those of Sigmund. In his theory, people are born with positive attributes like honesty and hard work, but they lose them with time. The theory explains that the peoples personalities are tied to the work they do. Humans value work because it has the ability to survive them after death. Work is also crucial to people because it eliminates poverty and boredom. Maslow formulated a hierarchy of needs that outlines the various human needs. The lowest needs in the pyramid are physiological needs like food. Safety is also a need at the bottom of the scale. Love is a need that affects the actions of many people depending on their circumstances. Esteem and self actualization are needs at the top of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Managers have to apply the hierarchy of needs as they motivate their employees. A manager has to understand what needs are important to employees and assess the priority using the Maslow's hierarchy (Kondalkar, 2003). An employee who is struggling to pay bills will be more motivated by financial benefits than a vacation.
Managers should motivate individually or collectively so as to meet his or her objectives. Motivation entails the development of a positive relationship between managers and employees. The relationship must be built on trust, respect and loyalty. There must be effective communication between the parties (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2006). The managers must be patient and responsive to the complaints of employees. Employees with good performance must be recognized, and the financial incentives must be appropriate. Research has shown that financial incentives are not always highly regarded by employees. Employees prefer respect, job security and self development in the work place.
Persuasion and motivation go hand in hand. Managers are advised to persuade not to coerce. Coercion destroys employees will and creativity leading to low performance. There are tactical approaches that have been applied by managers to persuade their workers. Managers do this by giving suggestions to the employees in a subtle way. Once employees are convinced the business is destined for success.