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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Here Are 4 Ways Not To Motivate Your People

One of the main reasons companies latch on to our philosophy and ideas for effective employee engagement and internal branding that boosts the overall enterprise is that leaders have relied on other things that don't work.

We ran across a piece recently on Inc.com that listed four of the biggest "motivators" that can backfire, and why. Here's the gist of the list:

Money: Financial incentives may work to gain the rededication of employees for just a while, but alone they won't result in long-term engagement. "There has to be something more," the Inc.com piece said -- which we at Inward Strategic Consulting would identify as a management approach based on holistic engagement of employees.

Fear: This can work for a while, the columnist said, but "you won't have their loyalty when you need it. And a terrified employee is not an innovative employee, and certainly not one willing to take risks or try out new concepts." We agree.

Competition: Setting up horse races for internal promotions, competitive sales bonuses and other reasons for employees to eye one another as rivals are another prod that can work OK in the short run but not so well over the long term. "Wouldn't you rather have them working together than against each other?" the Inc.com piece asks. We would add that gaining true engagement of employees in the mutually beneficial goals of the enterprise will yield more true gains than trying to establish tension-filled pockets of competition everywhere.

Praise: Perhaps surprisingly, this column raised questions about the use of praise as a motivational tool. But only "generalized praise"; using it "will just make your good opinion seem cheap." Instead, "Give people specific praise when they've done something specific to deserve it." That way it actually means something, and it actually can help motivate people individuals to contribute even more to the greater enterprise.

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