Is it every staff member’s responsibility to be self-motivated or is it the leader ‘s obligation to encourage their workers? It is an intriguing question and gets right to the heart of the “struggle for employee engagement” going on in an organization near you. This question reminds me a little of the nature against versus nurture debate, who is mainly responsible for individual and team motivation?
If you look up at the dictionary definition of the word responsible:
“Having a responsibility to do something as part of a job or function. Being the primary source of something and so able to be blamed or credited for it.”
Will certainly I do not think either party has a responsibility, although the leader can plainly impact on a persons motivation as can the staff member on their very own motivation. I don’t feel you could possibly say the Leader is the main reason for a persons motivation either.
So on balance certainly it must be weighted towards the employee?
Instead of an obligation or a duty surely motivation is more of a discretionary option? We all have a choice where we can select exactly how much effort, how difficult we work, exactly how passionate and imaginative we might be at work. Some people can easily tap into their personal motivations even in the most extreme of scenarios or hard atmospheres. Plainly others respond more acutely to their environment and will certainly have a tendency to blame circumstances and other people for their feelings. They may not feel they are knowingly opting to be demotivated but I still feel they have opted out of or not felt empowered enough for what ever reason to decide to be motivated.
On the other side of the coin wise companies can purposely attempt to foster the atmosphere, select the right individuals and create the relationships that “stack the dice” in the favour of their employees being more motivated . However there is no guarantee of success in any specific individual instance but we know enough about good workplace and leadership practice to comprehend the actions and leadership behaviors that will certainly support team motivation and most individuals’ self motivation.
Or do we?
Possibly the appallingly low average engagement scores we see in studies form many countries indicates that in fact there is not a good grasp of the fundamental principles of human motivation?
Personally I suspect some companies put far too much reliance on pay and rewards as motivators and think they have ticked the boxes by paying people well. However we know that many “people leave bosses rather than organisations .” so there is still a fundamental disconnect on the individual leader’s role in facilitating a “win:win” between the employee and company’s desires and outcomes.
Until we get a grasp of that reality we will continue to waste the productive potential of our people in our organizations.
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