Saturday, December 12, 2009

Motivation in the Workplace. Who's to Blame?

I'm not close with one of my sisters. This is a painful truth. I could give you theories to explain why we've grown distant but that could take days. When family (or workplace) relationships disintegrate, it takes time. Trust is lost and then more trust is lost until a canyon of suspicion separates us and obliterates bridges of empathy and understanding.

I've been getting requests for training in motivation. Many employers seem mystified-how can they get their workers to care? A complex question! And I'm reminded of my struggles with my sister. It's tempting to blame her but I know that we have both created our relationship. Workplace dynamics are equally complicated. Employers often hope for a magic wand to transform their “lazy” workers into enthusiastic employees. But, unless a disengaged worker is simply unwilling to work (rare), the employer is probably contributing to the problem. To motivate workers, employers may need to start with changing themselves. Have they taken the time to know the employee and see what intrinsically motivates him/her? Is the company creating a product or service that the employee can offer with pride? Has the employee received enough feedback and training to do his/her job? Is this employee the right person for the job?

The bad news is that recovering lost trust and interpersonal harmony is hard work. The good news is--each side has the ability to improve the frustrating situation. For my sister and I--we may achieve only a truce. But at least we know we're both responsible for our struggles. We begin with that knowledge.

Nurturing a positive workplace culture unleashes creativity and enthusiasm. Such a transformation will not be instant, but it can happen if employers seek to change not only their employees, but also themselves.© 2009 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved

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