Thursday, April 28, 2011

Understanding Human Behavior

Understanding human motivation enables you to achieve results through people, while understanding team members and their behavior implies that you care about them and have their best interests at heart. Investing the time and effort required to understand human behavior and to motivate employees offers readily observable benefits:
• Reduction in personnel turnover
• Identification of effective motivational leadership methods
• Increase in employee productivity, creativity, and loyalty.

Human beings are complicated, and there are no simplistic rules for understanding their behavior. Certain principles, however, provide insight into why people behave in certain ways. One way of looking at human behavior is to see it as caused by needs and wants. and can be classified into four types that are called the Four P’s: protection, pleasure, profit, and pride.

The need for protection is expressed in the universal desire for a feeling of security, safety, and protection from danger, from confusion, from domination and loss of freedom, from pain and poor health, and from uncertainty. This need is also expressed in a desire for a feeling of freedom from all kinds of loss—including loss of status, reputation, time, money, or opportunity. In very practical terms, this need demands that team members perform at their best, yet feel free from the fear of losing their jobs at the whim of an unpredictable leader.

Pleasure reflects the need and desire for comfort, convenience, companionship of others, or participation in enjoyable activities. Pleasure also includes feelings of assurance and a sense of belonging. Receiving attention fulfills a pleasure need because we all want recognition and approval from others. A sense of achievement is also an important pleasure need; all of us want to feel that we are capable of accomplishing and completing worthwhile goals.

The desire for profit is seen in the concern for monetary gain, increased earnings, and other financial advantages. Some individuals are motivated more than others by the desire for profit, but nearly everyone has this need to some extent. Thrift and avoidance of waste are also expressions of the desire for profit.

A sense of pride is fostered by feelings of self-esteem as well as feelings of significance and respect from others. As you treat others in ways that make them feel good about themselves, you are meeting their need for pride. People want to feel respected, to enjoy equality with others, and to achieve prestige in groups they consider important.

What is the best motivator?

All three basic approaches to motivation (fear, incentive, and attitude) have been available since the early beginnings of organized society. Both fear and incentive motivation have consistently proven to be temporary because they are external. Fear ceases to exist if the power to inflict punishment is gone. But it also ceases to motivate action if people find out they can live with the punishment, or if it is an empty threat. A team member who is careless about following established procedures learns that the only punishment is an angry reprimand; it may be easier to tune out the lecture than to follow the rules exactly. Fear is successful as a motivator only if the pressure is constant and power to punish is exercised.

Incentive motivation loses its power when the promised rewards are perceived either as unattainable or as unappealing. When employees consistently earn a promised reward over a period of time, that reward is expected. It no longer appears desirable enough to inspire extra effort. In fact, it is soon looked upon as a right instead of a special reward. Unfortunately, incentives must become progressively more impressive to continue to motivate. Both fear and incentive motivation fall short because they are externally controlled and temporary.

Attitude motivation, on the other hand, is a permanent force for producing desired behavior. It has the additional advantage of being internally produced and controlled. It continues to be effective whether the individual is working alone or in a group. Attitude motivation grows out of an individual’s dreams and desires. It is a function of the need to belong, to achieve, and to use the innate talents with which the individual is endowed. motivating people is basically a matter of showing them how to develop the power of self-motivation and then demonstrating to them the desirability of using that power to accomplish a purpose. Admittedly, it takes longer to start the process of achievement in your organization through attitude motivation than you might produce through either fear or incentive. But once team members experience the sense of fulfillment that comes through the use of attitude motivation, they are permanently sold on making full use of their potential.

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Encourage the Cooperation of Others

By Richard Hohmann, VP of Innovative Leadership

“Since the first recorded history, leaders have attempted to discover new ways to attract the willing cooperation of others.”

Leaders fill many different types of positions and perform widely diverse functions. But the chief task of leadership is the same for all: to motivate people who will then use their skills and effort to achieve the goals of the organization. The operative word in that definition is motivate. The attention given to motivation is not new. Since the first recorded history, leaders have attempted to discover new ways to attract the willing cooperation of others. Records of their attempts—along with accounts of their successes and failures—have filled countless volumes, but all of the different methods discovered can be sorted into three basic categories: fear, incentive, and attitude.

. Motivation through fear
The oldest method of motivation is fear. In primitive society, the strongest person became the ruler. Physical strength was originally the source of power, and weaker members of the group followed orders because they feared the physical punishment that was sure to result from refusal to conform. As society became more organized, other types of power came into play: Social, economic, and political pressures forced obedience. Even today, the business world uses fear to motivate people to behave in desired ways. Rules and policies threaten various sanctions for undesirable behavior all the way from a memo of censure placed in the personnel file to denial of increased pay to outright dismissal.

2. Motivation through incentive
Although fear is often a powerful motivator, many would-be leaders who lack the personal power to demand obedience look for other methods of producing the cooperation they want. They realized that every behavior is the result of a desire either to gain a benefit or to avoid a loss. Because of this lack of power, they offer an incentive—the promise of some gain to those who complied. Incentive motivation is generally regarded as a more enlightened strategy than fear. Families and schools use the promise of rewards to coax children to perform. Organizations offer people awards, prizes, and privileges for certain achievements.

3. Motivation through attitude
The master method of motivation is attitude. When people are willing to perform because they personally believe that a particular course of action is right, they are self-motivated. It is then unnecessary for anyone else to “motivate” them.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

10 Tips to Effective Communication

Manager’s today are dealing with 3 different generations in the workforce but that doesn’t change how managers should communicate with their employees. Everything a manager does involve communicating. Communication is needed to increase effectiveness, efficiency, customer satisfaction, improve quality and create innovative opportunities.

The Gallop Poll has demonstrated that as a nation, we engage our workers less than any other workforce in the world. We need to engage our workers so they realize their value in the success of the business strategy of the company or organization. In other words, we need to make them feel that they are part of the decision making process and contribute significantly to the success of our organization. This will also help us retain our better employees.

On top of that, if we can improve feedback, we certainly will help retain our good employees. Remember, people don’t leave a good company, they leave a bad manager. The number one reason for an employee leaving a company is lack of feedback from their immediate supervisor. So the number one factor in regard to Talent Management – Communication.

How do we communicate?
• Verbal
– One-on-One
– Meetings
– Groups or Teams
– Telephone
• Written
– Letter
– Memo
– E Mail
• Non-verbal
– Body Language

As a manager, you must remember that sending an email can easily be misinterpreted. Face to face meetings or just interaction is being replaced by emails, against common belief, this actually decreases productivity.

Here are 10 tips to effective communication
1. Connect personally with employees
2. Plan your presentation with the outcome in mind
3. Make it real communication; eliminate perception
4. Use a variety of communication pathways and vehicles
5. Give people multiple opportunities to share their concerns, ask questions, and offer ideas
6. Don’t confuse Process with Communication
7. Be genuine and develop trust
8. Be an active listener
9. Keep a sense of humor and develop comfortable relations
10. Communicate ideas not feelings or judgment