Those of us whose education included management science and those of us who learnt more and better about human motivation doing our masters in the University of Life have realized that motivation, either positive or negative, doesn’t work on everybody in the same manner.
Way back in 1960s itself, Douglas McGregor’s Theory X and Y enlightened us about the two contrasting assumptions of human motivation, leaving us to choose between the carrot and the stick and we now have Stephen Covey who talks about the wisdom of migrating from an industrial age (Theory X) to that of an Information Age (Theory Y) to get the best of people.
I am sure all of us, as seasoned managers, have our own experiences and opinions about what works in motivating our people and what doesn’t. We know that monetary rewards are necessary but so are the small little trinkets that even battle-scarred and war-weary generals and soldiers love to receive in recognition of their services.
As a first generation entrepreneur most of my working life, I have always used non-monetary motivation copiously (for an excellent reason that I couldn’t afford too much of monetary rewards!). It worked very well for me, cutting across levels, departments, gender and education/ experience.
A small example – In the beginning of this year, when we conducted a climate/ morale survey, we found that the team felt that they do not have enough freedom when it comes to taking leaves. We decided to give total freedom to avail eligible leave – a person need not take anybody’s approval before taking leave; they need to only inform in advance that they are availing leave. We had our usual share of Doubting Thomas’ apprehensions that this freedom is bound to get abused and will result to utter chaos. It is 2 months since we announced the new leave policy and there isn’t a single case where a person has not behaved responsibly when availing leave, keeping the company’s interest very much in mind.
A number of visitors – business associates, customers, suppliers – who visited our facility and came to know about our initiates toward making ‘Happy Employees’ have commented that “too much of a good thing is bad”; too much of praise, recognition and freedom is bound to bring about negative returns.
We don’t think so. What would you say? I would love to hear your comments, advice and experiences.
Thank you for reading my blog. If you are interested in the subject of motivation, you will find our free online course on ‘POSTIVE REINFORCEMENT’ quite interesting. Click on the link to access it: http://www.commlabindia.com/elearning-gurus/elearning-freecourses.php?course=C1