Key Drivers: Motivation Must Be Personal To Be Effective

All employees are unique in what motivates them to perform to their capacity and excel in their profession. Most will do what is expected of them, but the motivated employee will go to great lengths to exceed expectations. The key is for managers to discover what truly drives their people. Once their motivation is understood, leaders have the power to get the most out of their employees.

Managers often feel there is no need to motivate their employees as long as the pay is adequate. Yet research has demonstrated that the majority of personal motivation is based upon a host of other significant factors such as achievement, recognition, responsibility, personal growth, and advancement.

Compensation is certainly a motivating factor, but it is often linked to these more prime motivators. A poorly designed compensation plan will cause employees to feel unappreciated and not be reflective of their personal achievements. Consequently, many employees link their compensation to their perception of how they are recognized within the organization.

Managers must understand that it is within their power and control to motivate each member of their team to excel.

Managers who wish to maximize their employees' performance use specific motivators to create an environment in which individuals feel valued for their contributions to the company, know their efforts are appreciated and supported by the organization, and have the desire to achieve higher levels of personal performance. These results can be achieved by nurturing an atmosphere that includes the following elements.


Managers must take a genuine personal interest in each employee. Although significant, this means going beyond his or her life outside of work. The main areas in which to devote individual attention are in mentoring and nurturing a personal and professional growth as well as in understanding what motivates them. When managers demonstrate an interest in their employees, they are giving and sharing their time, lives, and expertise with their employees.


Managers who wish to motivate their employees must develop confidence in their abilities. This means allowing employees to experiment with new ideas and techniques while understanding that, as people grow through their experiences, many lessons are best learned through personal mistakes and failure.

Managers must also have the confidence that their employees can develop realistic and attainable plans and allow them to work those plans without interference or micromanagement. Individuals who know they have the liberty to perform their jobs without fear of retribution if they falter are more motivated and empowered to stretch the limits of their capabilities.


Employees must be challenged to stretch their personal and professional limits. This includes personal and professional development in areas of vocational knowledge, skills, and expertise.


Managers must maintain a sense of pride in their team, their company, and the products they sell. Employees must continually sell themselves on the value of the company and its products or services. If employees aren't sold, they will have difficulty convincing others of the company's worth. Additionally, as people need a spark to overcome daily stress and adversity, managers must build and nurture a passion in their employees to achieve and succeed.


Managers must establish a sense of fellowship between the individual members of their workplace, which thereby creates camaraderie and emotional support. Successfully done, this builds a strong team atmosphere and healthy sense of friendly competition that is beneficial to the organization.

Reward and Recognition

Managers should use fair and consistent standards with which to measure performance and base rewards and recognition. Employees should be evaluated against their own performance, and, for best impact, appropriate recognition should be given immediately.


Beyond tangible rewards and recognition, managers must demonstrate their personal appreciation for the efforts and contributions made by their individual employees. They should also avoid taking the top performers on their team for granted. Because these individuals need little attention or direction, they are often overlooked as managers invest more time with more inexperienced or problematic employees. To stretch their personal abilities, the best of the group also need ongoing recognition, appreciation, and encouragement.

Timothy Bednarz,, 715-342-1018.

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