Myths about employee motivation

Let’s clear up some myths about employee motivation.  I’ve found an excellent myth-debunking article by Dr Catherine McNamara.  Despite the important of the topic, several myths persist – especially among new managers and supervisors.

1. Myth #1 – “I can motivate people”
Not really – they have to motivate themselves. You can’t motivate people anymore than you can empower them. Employees have to motivate and empower themselves. However, you can set up an environment where they best motivate and empower themselves. The key is knowing how to set up the environment for each of your employees.

2. Myth #2 – “Money is a good motivator”
Not really. Certain things like money, a nice office and job security can help people from becoming less motivated, but they usually don’t help people to become more motivated. A key goal is to understand the motivations of each of your employees.

3. Myth #3 – “Fear is a damn good motivator”
Fear is a great motivator – for a very short time. That’s why a lot of yelling from the boss won’t seem to “light a spark under employees” for a very long time.

4. Myth #4 – “I know what motivates me, so I know what motivates my employees”
Not really. Different people are motivated by different things. I may be greatly motivated by earning time away from my job to spend more time my family. You might be motivated much more by recognition of a job well done. People are not motivated by the same things. Again, a key goal is to understand what motivates each of your employees.

5. Myth #5 – “Increased job satisfaction means increased job performance”
Research shows this isn’t necessarily true at all. Increased job satisfaction does not necessarily mean increased job performance. If the goals of the organization are not aligned with the goals of employees, then employees aren’t effectively working toward the mission of the organization.

6. Myth #6 – “I can’t comprehend employee motivation – it’s a science”
Nah. Not true. There are some very basic steps you can take that will go a long way toward supporting your employees to motivate themselves toward increased performance in their jobs. (Read more about these steps.)

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