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It’s that time of the year when we review the previous year and set out our intentions (hate to call them resolutions) for 2013. One of the key things for me is our team. Are they happy, and are they motivated?

Common wisdom dictates that the most important factors are;
1. Good wages.

2. Job security.
3. Promotion and growth.
4. Good working conditions.
5. Interesting work.

Surprisingly, according to most recent research, whilst these factors are important to an individual’s motivation, other factors rank far more highly;
1. Interesting work.
2. Recognition and appreciation of work completed.
3. Feeling involved in decision making.

As managers, our own perception of what motivates team members differs significantly compared to theirs. What this also says is that…
a. Most managers have little or no clue about what motivates their people!!
b. Managers tend to interpret employee motivations around more material and concrete issues (money, security, and promotion) and avoid the less tangible emotional topics.

One interpretation is that most of what managers hear about from their reports is indeed related to compensation and promotion – “I would like a pay rise” and “I am seeking a promotion”. But when questioning people more intently, it becomes clear that the sense of challenge, learning, accomplishment, involvement and recognition are most often more important – at least once the basics are covered (e.g. people don’t feel totally under-paid).

All this calls for in 2013 is more frequent one-on-one discussions with individuals, discuss performance, quality of assignments, and general motivation.

Have any ideas about management and motivation for 2013? Feel free to leave a comment below!

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