Managing Motivation

A New Hope

The most important thing for managers to keep in mind when acquiring new talent is the balance of responsibility. We have all seen the imbalance more times than we can count. Whether it be people brought onto a team and given absolutely nothing to do, or people brought onto a team and overloaded with stressful work; we can recognize that both of these scenarios lead to the almost immediate destruction of personal motivation.

I have far too many times been entered into a project with high expectations, only to be put to no use. Even with lowered expectations, there often remains a lack of responsibilities delegated via managers. This also happens if a team member gets overwhelmed and no longer has the desire to work.

That being said, a manager needs to have goals and delegatable tasks laid out to be assigned accordingly and at logical time intervals. These tasks also need to be rewarded (whether it be with praise or the delegation of another task). This leads to continued satisfaction, without devastating amounts of commitment and the feeling of being overwhelmed. Here are several quick steps to effective management in the realm of motivating those working under you.

1. Develop a list of necessary responsibilities ahead of time and get an idea of the amount of time and effort they will take. (These should be laid out in the order they can be accomplished in a timeline fashion)

2. If you have the choice, only acquire the amount of workers necessary to complete the task in the given time. More often than not, large amounts of tasks can be completed by far less people than you think without overwhelming them, and giving them a steady amount of workload.

3. When tasks are completed, have follow-up tasks to be assigned, or if you see a person struggling, attach the person done with their work to accompany the teammate and aid in the workload, which improves teaching for one worker, and learning for the other.

4. Any way you put it, show those working under you that you appreciate what they are doing for you. Whether this is out of the company’s pocket, or your own, it goes a long way to show others you appreciate their hard work. Anything from dinner out, to a small gift goes an unbelievably long way.

Most importantly, throughout the whole process, experiment enough to find out what is and isn’t working for the team. Teams all behave differently than one another, and more often than not, some of the main techniques can be applied, but have to be tailored individually to fit the unique team characteristics. Be open with those working under you, but keep things on task, in order to promote further motivation, and prevent those working below you from feeling like they have nothing to do or too much to do, and losing motivation to help you further in your endeavors.

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~ by trentgillaspie on December 8, 2008.

2 Responses to “Managing Motivation”

  1. I generally agree, but I think you need to understand that there’s often other things going on that make it difficult to do this on a regular basis. Depending on the project, it can be very difficult to plan even a day in advance!

    My comments:

    1. Develop a list of necessary responsibilities ahead of time and get an idea of the amount of time and effort they will take. (These should be laid out in the order they can be accomplished in a timeline fashion)

    Needs can change on an hourly basis. It is very difficult to set a ‘responsibility plan’ well ahead of time and know exactly how much time/effort it will take. Sure you can have your project plan but many projects are just too fluid.

    2. If you have the choice, only acquire the amount of workers necessary to complete the task in the given time. More often than not, large amounts of tasks can be completed by far less people than you think without overwhelming them, and giving them a steady amount of workload.

    That conflicts with the basic desire of our firm to staff and get paid for delivery of talent. If the client is willing to pay for 5 people, even if the task only needs 3, then why restrict the revenue? The key is to add enough to the scope so that the extra two people both provide additional value and also are fully utilized.

    3. When tasks are completed, have follow-up tasks to be assigned, or if you see a person struggling, attach the person done with their work to accompany the teammate and aid in the workload, which improves teaching for one worker, and learning for the other.

    Yes that would be ideal. However, managers / SMs are also running around doing their own stuff so sometimes it’s hard to have everything planned ahead of time. But you’re right – it is the right thing to do.

    4. Any way you put it, show those working under you that you appreciate what they are doing for you. Whether this is out of the company’s pocket, or your own, it goes a long way to show others you appreciate their hard work. Anything from dinner out, to a small gift goes an unbelievably long way.

    Absolutely. I bought my team members $20 Amazon gift cards last week for that very reason — they’re working long hours and they deserve it.

  2. It sounds like a grounded opinion, even though yes there are several external factors involved that are not wrapped up in the points defined here. Managing is a tough psychological field which many individuals fail to place as much importance on thinking about their job vs. actually “doing” a job at hand. The transition for one to become a manager from a direct report to a manager position is commonly overlooked and therefore lacking the training and transition to fulfill the managerial duties properly. Human beings are wired to always be active and doing something…hands on. I believe it is a gift to successfully allow others to actively DO everything for you or the company, while you, the manager, remain the operational brain work behind the situation; yet while still showing the worker bees how much they are appreciated and contribute to the effort towards the common goal.
    This being said… It sounds like you are in the process of becoming a great manager with your appreciation for team work and for the work place organizational chart, if you will. Keep analyzing and by George we have here ourselves the makings of a great leader! 🙂

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