Tag Archive: motivation

As posted on:  www.onlinecollege.org

10 Biggest Myths About Employee Motivation

Managers ignore employees’ motivation at their own peril. Gallup estimates that disengaged workers cost businesses $300 billion in profit each year. With the recession discouraging them from quitting for fear they won’t be able to find another job, it’s very likely that either you or one of your coworkers is drudging through the day, uninspired and doing the bare minimum. Unfortunately, incorrect assumptions about motivating employees perpetuate the problem. Here are the 10 most commonly-believed myths about rallying the troops.

  1. Money is the best motivator

    Americans have never met a problem they didn’t think could be solved by throwing money at it. The myth that high pay is the biggest motivator in the workplace persists partly because it’s such an easy fix from a management standpoint. It’s a cop-out for managers so they can say, “We’re paying you a lot of money. You shouldn’t need any help from me.” But raises are not a long-term solution to a lack of motivation. In a few months, most people have spent them and can’t even recall what they bought. Surveyed workers consistently rank pay in the middle of the pack on the list of what they really want from their jobs.

  2. One size fits all

    In their private lives, customers have grown used to being able to customize what they buy. The traditional business practice of “take it or leave it,” limited-option service is fading into night. Companies should recognize that their employees desire the same treatment regarding motivation. Using blanket motivation tools with all employees won’t work for all of them, because they’re all individuals with different needs and goals. The most successful management comes with finding what makes each person tick and focusing on those factors to help them succeed the way they want to, and rewarding them the way they want to be rewarded.

  3. Making progress is not very important to employees

    In an early 2010 survey, the Harvard Business Review asked 600 managers from a wide range of industries what they thought most motivated employees by asking them to rank five management practices. Their No. 1 choice was “recognition for good work,” while they rated “support for making progress” the least important manager tool. HBR compared the results to a multi-year study of 238 employees from seven companies and found that while the managers were nearly right about recognition (it was ranked second), what they considered least important was most important to workers. Even “small wins” that make work more meaningful for employees motivate them more than recognition or pay incentives.

  4. Surfing the web hurts productivity

    By now it has been well established that employees who are happy are more productive. Yet many employers still forbid “time-wasting” activities that help people enjoy their workday more, like checking Facebook or conversing on Google Chat. But studies at the National University of Singapore and the University of Melbourne have found that surfing the Internet for leisurely, non-business purposes for no more than 20% of a workday actually improves employees’ concentration, relieves boredom and exhaustion, and enables them to produce more than those who take no such breaks.

  5. You don’t have to motivate smart employees

    Think how different the world would be if high intelligence was always accompanied by high motivation. Talent would never be wasted; the world would be hundreds of years more advanced in every area. Even though we know this isn’t the way it works, reality is often thrown out the window when it comes to managing “smart” employees. People with high IQs need to be motivated as much as anyone. Even if their output is already great, neglecting to set goals for them or give them positive feedback is just begging for their productivity to suffer.

  1. Employees should set their own goals

    Speaking of goal-setting, there is a school of thought that employees should create their own work objectives. The thinking goes that this forces workers to compete with each other and gives them more of a say in their job experience. But the fact is the setup of most companies does not lend itself to such participatory management. Employees have to have the time, the skills, and the support from the company culture to set their own goals. There’s also the danger that they will shoot too high (and feel embarrassed or depressed that they couldn’t meet their own expectations) or too low (and either under-achieve or require a manager to “correct” their goals).

  2. All motivation is created equal

    In tough economic times there is a tendency for bosses to believe the myth that all motivating incentives are equal, and therefore interchangeable. Instead of giving bonuses at the end of the year, they might instead give out hats with the company logo, or give a hearty “good job!” instead of a raise. Yes, pay is not the most important motivator, but there’s also no substitute for cold, hard cash. In the same way, cash is not a substitute for praise for a job well done when it is merited.

  3. Hiding bad news is best for motivation

    It’s natural for companies to want to downplay negative results and focus on the positive. However, employees don’t live in a vacuum and (hopefully) are smart enough to know when things aren’t going well. Sooner or later they will find out what managers don’t want them to know, and they will resent being treated like children. Many companies are fond of saying employees are their most valuable resource. If that’s really true, they should be informed of bad news and trusted to put their skills to work to do what they can do help the business.

  4. Motivation is a panacea

    Thinking that all a company’s problems can be solved with 100% employee motivation is an easy trap to fall into. The examples of highly successful companies that are very public about the lengths they take to keep employees happy and fulfilled are numerous, and people begin to associate motivation with guaranteed success. But success depends on employees, and “motivation is a cure-all” is a myth that fails to take into account management, culture, work systems and processes, and individual capabilities, all of which contribute to employee performance.

  5. Anyone can be motivated for any job

    When interviewing prospective employees, smart bosses know to investigate whether the applicant is truly interested in the job and the associated type of work for which he or she is applying. If not, the entire process is an exercise in futility. However, some people who are a fit for a job when they start may lose interest over time, either because of the work itself, the company environment, the pay level, or a host of other reasons. And when they’ve “checked out,” they can’t be motivated. Throwing resources at the problem is only delaying the inevitable. They should be moved before they drag down output and others’ morale.

April 10th, 2012 written by

This article is written by Brian Tracy, author of “Earn What You’re Really Worth:  Maximize your Income at Any Time in Any Market.”

“There are three Cs to getting the kind of job you want and earning the kind of money you want to earn. These three Cs basically remain constant throughout your working career. They are

  • Contacts,
  • Credibility, and
  • Competence.


First, the more contacts you have in the marketplace, the more likely it is you will find the job you want. The more people you know and who know you, the more likely it is you will uncover one of the 85 percent or more of job openings that are never listed anywhere.This is why it is so important for you to network continually.

Join clubs and associations. Ask people for referrals and references. Tell your friends, relatives, and associates that you are in the market for a new job. Make sure that everyone you know is aware that you are available and looking for a job.Nothing is more important than your circle of contacts. The great majority of jobs that are filled in the hidden job market are filled because someone knows someone. And you can expand your range of contacts just by telling people that you are available and asking for their help and their advice.


The second C is credibility. This is made up of your reputation and your character. Your credibility is the most important single quality about you in terms of getting recommendations and referrals from your contacts.

Make sure that everything you do is consistent with the highest ethical standards. Make sure that you never say or do anything that could be misconstrued by anyone as anything other than excellent conduct and behavior.
Remember, people will only recommend you for a job opening if they are completely confident that they will not end up looking foolish as a result of something you do or say.


The third C is competence. In the final analysis it is how good you are and how good you have been in your previous jobs that will determine, more than anything else, how good you can be at the job under consideration. Next to your character, your level of competence will be the single most important factor in determining your success in your career. This is why you must be continually working to maintain and upgrade your levels of competence through personal study all your working life.”

Bust your career slump

This article was written by John Mullins and printed in the Cape Argus, dated 21 June 2010.  A handy “tip” list is included at the end of the article.

“Okay so not everyone who reads this is in a career slump, but I bet you’ll recognise some of the symptoms of a career slump, even if they are only very temporary. The trick is to notice them quickly and of course to work out why they exist and how to get rid of them.”

“Do you not regard yourself as a star performer?  If not, then I guess you have a big decision to make. And it goes something like this. Why do I work? Are you a “because I have to” kind of person? Or are you on a quest to find your highest level of potential?”

“So here are some things I’ve learned from performance coaches who have worked extensively with athletes who have experienced reduced performance levels at some point. First, we need to understand that performance slumps can be caused by many things, but like in the world of the athlete, the first thing we should look at is the physical reasons.”

“What is your physical condition like? Are you feeling slightly off your peak? Or are you perhaps not as fit and sharp as you should be?   Never stop paying attention to your health. It could just be the one thing that is bringing you down.”

“Okay, so once you’ve ruled out any physical reason for not performing to your peak, you should start to pay attention to your mental approach to work. One of the most common reasons for individuals getting stuck in a rut is their negative self-talk routine.  As a performance slump sets in and remains, it is common for a person to obsess with a fault finding and blaming routine. It means that we shift our focus to all the reasons we can’t do something, instead of why we can.”

“Instead of focusing on the very next thing we need to do to get back on track, our minds get stuck in a looping of the mistake. So we clutter our mind with negative thoughts instead of staying in the here and now.  In practice it works like this. You have a choice after you mess up. You can occupy your thoughts with over analysing every detail of why you screwed up. Or, you could simply trust yourself, and handle the very immediate challenge in front of you on its merits. Without any preconceived judgements, or assumptions. Just do what needs to be done now! For this to happen you need to develop a strong self-belief mental script.”

“I think one of the best ways to do this is to accept that mistakes happen. Understand that no matter who you are and what the situation is, errors can happen. However, accepting that failure is part of the game allows you to reduce your stress and anxiety over this reality. It means you don’t see yourself as the source of failure. Rather you see yourself as a part of the success equation.”

Here are some tips to help you get there.

Tips for busting from a slump

  • Make sure your physical condition is at the highest it can   be. Rule out any physical reasons for being in a slump.
  • Take care of things outside your job that could be  cluttering your mind. Reduce your distractions.
  • Accept that failures are a natural part of any job. They are  not permanent.
  • Reduce your negative beliefs. You have performed well  before, you will reach that level again.
  • Focus on the here and now. Do not live in the past, or too   far in the future.
“Products, like people, have personalities and they can make or break them in the marketplace” – David Ogilvy
Many marketers milk Mother’s Day as an opportunity to market their product or service, using emotion as the key driver to purchase.
You, too, are a product. What drives someone to choose you, to employ you or book your services? You need to define your features and benefits. You need to know who you are before you know where you could be going.
We know that it’s not about the position you hold in a company, or the work you do. It’s all about the real “you” and your true personality, which may change and develop, but the real “you” will always remain the same. You need to think of yourself as an aspirational, luxury or designer brand, a “once-off” rather than a “no-name” brand. You never want to be considered ordinary. My request to you, please – be anything but average.
When you acknowledge that you are unique and special, and communicate your individuality and uniqueness, people will pay more for your art, your performance or your work. A consumer pays more for an original designer garment or custom-designed piece of furniture, manufactured specifically to personal design specifications. Personalised is more valuable than mass-produced; bespoke gets spoken about. Consider the value of an original work of art, or a musical performance by an international music artist. Both will demand a higher price, not only because they are the best in their fields, but because they have earned a reputation as icons or idols.”
“…People will pay more for anything that is original and special by someone who is a “name”.
Written by Jenny Handley.  Article appeared in the Cape Times 3 May 2010.
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