Comments posted to this topic are about the item What motivates you to do your best?
Pretty simple for me, I'm motivated by my own curiosity and pride in a job well done. If I'm going to take the time to do something, than I want to do it right so I won't have to do it a second time. As for the stick and carrot management style, stick doesn't work. I'm not trading my talent, skills, or time to be punished. If I make a mistake, I'll own it.
While I certainly agree that motivation comes from within, nothing saps mine like putting inhibitors in my way. If you want me to do my best then remove roadblocks (software restrictions, meetings, admin etc) or be prepared for malaise and gallows humour.
My motivators are
To paraphrase a data architect friend and colleague. "Being a data architect is like training to be a doctor and then having to listen seriously to someone espousing evil spirits as the root cause of the illness"
One Orange Chip
Project and Mountain Dew
It's true that in order to do your best work you have to be passionate about it and doing it for your own satisfaction and pride. No amount of money is going to get great code from someone who doesn't care about coding as a profession.
On the other hand, if I'm not getting a nice salary and promises of raises and promotions I would spend my effort on my own projects, not the company's software. The carrot is a necessary part of the equation to get great work from employees unless the employees have a natural interest in your product line, which is rarely the case. I've worked on software for tracking insurance policies and keeping in compliance with government rules for low income housing. The technology is great but the novelty of the tech stack wears off after a few months and your left with the dullest subject matter imaginable!
Building something that matters and will be used: I’ve been part of a couple projects where the end-product never made it to Production (some VP thought was a good idea to build a new system and the department that was supposed to use the new product was never involved in the requirements gathering process - until this day I don’t know why… Politics maybe?). The entire project was a waste of time, money, and effort.
Good Management: This means NO micro-managing! I appreciate when working with managers that encourage independent thinking and know what it takes to build high-quality software.
Coffee: Lots of COFFEE!
Anyone attracted to working in IT is going to be smarter than average and also a natural problem solver. They are going to know things. My advice for motivating IT professionals is to respect what they know and give them good problems to solve. Do that and any of us would be happy as a clam.
Also, Gallup has developed a measure of employee motivation that I believe is extremely valuable. It is employee engagement. I advise any IT manager to read and follow the guidance that Gallup provides on this.
Teamwork! Being part of a team, striving together towards a common goal in which we all have a stake.
Sure I'm intrinsically motivated to do my best and take satisfaction from a job well done; but being the sole font of motivation drains the batteries after a while. Tapping into the team as a source of momentum is a huge lift, and sustainable. Ride the wave!
Hall of Fame
I was once asked in an interview what a manager could do to motivate me to do my best. I struggled to answer that. I realized later that the reason I had difficulty with the question was because my self-motivation was much stronger than any carrot or stick. A stick does not motivate me, it is more likely to demotivate me.
Separate from motivation is how well does management deal with those who consistently fail to fulfill their responsibilities. Whether this be due to laziness or lack of ability or training, failure to deal with this can be demoralizing for the whole team.
I'd say I'm primarily self-motivated. I want to do my best as much as possible.
The carrot side from the employer tends to be a couple things for me, a decent paycheck, if I'm doing good work raises, being able to do good things to advance the employers' goals.
Sticks tend to not work with me, as I will take responsibility for mistakes and errors, that's just the way I'm wired.
Now, de-motivators, the sort of things that drive me to look for a way out and not do my best work?
Not feeling like part of the team / having my suggestions completely ignored (being told there's no budget for something? I can deal, being told "we don't have time to do that" when you realize the DB that's going to be the back-end of the companies product is shite and fixing it later is going to be never? Yeah, total de-motivator.) / Having suggestions for improvements to processes etc poo-pooed...
Yeah, all of those will result in my reaching for the ripcord.
Interesting article. I've seen stick and carrot approach for motivating behavior, both personally and professionally. Using a stick is often easier to see. I do think using a carrot for motivating behavior is a better approach, but sometimes that's just harder to do. For example, where I work because of the severe budget crunch, there haven't been any pay raises since 2008. And there's no hope of any pay raise for the foreseeable future. So there's no way a manager can motivate you with a pay raise. And I have to say the same was true of my previous job. So in these cases if the manager feels like they're not getting what they need, the only tool they have in their toolbox is a stick.
I do think you're probably right Ben, about the best way of getting someone to perform at their best is if the motivation to do their best comes from within. But that's something a manager cannot influence. At best you can only do that when you're considering new recruits. Some way of determining if they've strongly motivated to do their best at the interview, not afterwards.
Kindest Regards, Rod Connect with me on LinkedIn.
Rod at work - Friday, February 17, 2017 8:37 AM
Pay increases are not the only carrot that a manager has, in fact it is a pretty poor carrot overall. Some people are motivated by money but for most people, if their pay is fair, more money won't motivate them at all. Having my labor used effectively is just about my main motivator, as it is for a lot of people. As someone else mentioned, working on an effective team is another one that I care about. In any case, there are many carrots that a manager has besides pay. A good manager will try to pay attention to these types of rewards.
Hall of Fame
GeorgeCopeland - Friday, February 17, 2017 8:55 AM
I agree. I wouldn't call a raise a carrot at all. But I would say that a lack of raises (or any unfairness with regards to hours/compensation) can be a huge de-motivator. Something as simple as not getting time off in lieu after a weekend of work is going to lower how much I care to work weekends. I ultimately want to feel valued for the work I do.
I think the best thing a manager can do is work out what DEmotivates their staff and work out ways to minimise it.
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