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We all have our days where motivation is lacking and tasks feel like an uphill battle. Here, we explore a range of prominent motivational theories to help you get the most out of your day.
In an ideal world, every professional would be carrying out their duties to the fullest, with not a single mistake or missed deadline in sight. Unfortunately, we all have our days when we’re performing at half our potential, where low motivation can make completing tasks feel like we’re pushing a boulder up a hill. Factor in your team, where everyone is different and has their own methods of staying motivated, and successes across the board can become a challenge.
Luckily, there are a whole host of motivational theories that have been developed over time that can help you to get the most out of your day, for both yourself and those employees who are under your charge. Here, we’ll go into some of the most popular theories of motivation as well as how you can apply them to your job if you think things are flagging.
Developed by? Frederick Herzberg
What? After collating the responses of 200 accountants and engineers, Herzberg found two factors that tended to influence how motivated and satisfied these employees were…
Therefore, Herzberg’s findings suggest that supervisors must be able to effectively manage factors that leads to satisfaction and dissatisfaction.
Employees love to feel like their efforts are appreciated and they’re supported as people, but they also want to know that they will be able to grow and progress through the company too. Let them know that they’re on a path to progressing in this role; it will give them something to drive towards when completing their tasks.
When it comes to mitigating the hygiene factors, it might underline the need to form a stronger relationship with your team. An aloof, unsympathetic approach can have very negative effects on morale. Consider workloads to see if they can be eased off; an overworked, underpaid team is a sure-fire combination for low motivation.
Developed by? Abraham Maslow
What? Possibly the most well-known theory of motivation, it involves human needs classified from lowest to highest order. Once the need has been met, it no longer provides motivation. At this point, they move on to the next level of need in order to motivate themselves.
From top to bottom, these are:
How? Employees in offices with a strong work/life balance, where they know they won’t be taking work back home, stand a better chance of adhering to this theory. Things like flexible working hours, industry-standard salaries and a friendly working environment help to meet esteem, social and safety needs.
Self-actualisation is a little bit more abstract by comparison. Things like progression, accomplishment, recognition, growth and autonomy lead to employee engagement and satisfaction. These are qualities or attributes in line with the concept of self-actualisation.
A workplace where there’s competition for bonuses between employees, for example, is less likely to lead to self-actualisation because these individuals are no longer working from a standpoint of achieving what they care for, but instead are aiming for an achievement to a relative degree compared to others.
An environment where employees can shape their goals and career development creates a degree of control, a large part of self-actualisation that gives a sense of progress to their duties.
Developed by? Bernard Weiner
What? Attribution Theory attempts to explain how we attach meaning to the behaviour of ourselves and others. Weiner suggested that the reasons we attribute to our behaviour can influence how we behave in the future, and came up with three main characteristics of attributions that can affect our motivation.
The attributions we assign to actions have a two-fold effect. Attributing something stable to a successful achievement can lead to positive expectations and higher motivation in the future. Conversely, negative situations and their attributions have the opposite effect.
How? The theory relates most readily to the feedback you give to employees. When giving them feedback, it’s important to be constructive. Let them know that they can improve and how they can go about it. In theory, this stops employees from attributing their failures to what they believe is their own lack of skill. Their successes are controllable if they use different strategies.
Even if the desired outcomes haven’t been achieved, it’s still important to give them praise. In doing so, you’re encouraging employees to attribute the failure to controllable factors, which can be improved upon down the line.
Developed by? Victor Vroom
What? People will work to a high level when they believe there is a relationship between the effort they put in, the performance they achieve and the outcomes or rewards they receive. In other words, we decide what to do based on what we expect the outcome to be.
The key constructs that are part of this theory are as follows:
How? Setting achievable goals and providing rewards that employees would want, and use is a good way of creating motivation through this theory. It doesn’t have to be something huge, but things like praise, an opportunity for progression and employee of the month-style rewards can help to keep a realistic level of expectation and motivate employees to better accomplish their duties.
It may take a little trial and error to find the motivation technique which works best for your team, but once you strike upon the right method, the rewards could be endless.
The views, opinions and positions expressed within this article are those of our third-party content providers alone and do not represent those of Gazprom Marketing & Trading. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. Gazprom Marketing & Trading accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.
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