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The Concepts of Ability and Motivation


In order to accurately diagnose the needs of an employee’s performance potential, you must fully understand the concepts of ability and motivation. Ability is crucial in these rapidly changing times, because if one of your team members is in over his her head, that individual’s chances of realizing his/her full potential without the appropriate leadership are minimal. Equally important these days is understanding employees’ motivation. Gone are the days when a leader could motivate employees by offering job security and career advancement.

What is ability?

When you think about ability, there are four factors to consider. All these factors are equally important. Unfortunately, in most organizations, when leaders think about employees’ ability, they only think of the first factor, technical skills – a person’s education, training, and experience.

The second factor is interpersonal skills. These include the skills for leading downward with people at lower levels, the skills for leading upward with your boss, as well as the skills for developing effective relationships with pears, vendors, customers, and so on. The higher a person rises in any organization, the more important these skills become.

The third factor is job knowledge. One of your employees might have impressive technical skills, but if that person doesn’t know your expectations or doesn’t understand customer requirements, he/she really doesn’t know what the job is all about. Without that, how can this person be expected to deliver the necessary results?

The forth factor is organizational power. In order to have the power to deliver results, an employee has to understand the back alleyways and hidden channels of the organization. He/she needs to have a network of people to call on in order to cut through the red tape and get things done. This applies to your organization, but also to your customers’ organizations. Your people need to know how to get in and out and through these organizations in order to get things done.

What is motivation?

When you think about an employee’s motivation, there are also four factors to consider. The first is interest. This is important because, if a team member is not interested in the work itself, then he/she will not be very enthusiastic about it. But in most organizations, interest is monitored in a very superficial way, focusing on how early people come in, how late they stay, and how willing they are to work on weekends. Interest is important but motivation is more complicated than the hours your people put in.

The second factor is confidence. This is extremely important, especially when organizations and the people in them are facing increasingly difficult challenges. Have you ever worked with people who have great skills but lack the self-confidence to use them? Oh have you ever been in a situation where you weren’t totally confident of your skills? Without confidence, how motivated will any person be to take on increased responsibility?

The third factor is willingness to assume responsibility. These days, it is not uncommon for people to be skilled, highly interested, and very confident, but so busy and stressed that they’re reluctant to take on new responsibilities. So, if someone is going to motivate them, there is going to be a very strong incentive to encourage them to take on new responsibilities.

The forth factor is alignment with organizational goals. If a team member’s goals are not consistent with the organization’s, the result will be frustration and conflict. There are some highly motivated for all the wrong reasons. They will do anything and will walk over anyone to accomplish their own agenda. If their efforts are not in sync with the organization’s values and your department’s mission, their commitment may do more harm than good. Alignment is also a critical factor when an organization is going through a major change. If people aren’t sure where they fit, where the organization is going, or what management expects, their motivation is hindered. Consequently, they may not be willing to take on as much responsibility or to commit their time and energy without more frequent check-ins to be sure they are on track.


Text 7


Read the text and explain the motivation theories described. Answer the questions that follow.

Date: 2016-01-03; view: 1302

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