Perhaps you’ve heard the story of the man who wandered around a major construction project. At the south end he asked a worker what he was doing. Using a very negative tone, the employee growled “I’m laying bricks!”
The visitor wandered over to the other end of the block-long construction site where another bricklayer was working. Interestingly, when this second man (working under a different supervisor than the first one) was asked about what he was doing, his eyes lit up, he smiled, and he said excitedly “Hey, man, I’m helping to build a great cathedral!”
Wow! What a difference in the attitudes of these two individuals! And how significant might be the fact that two different supervisors were involved?
In my conversations with supervisors, managers, and officers of organizations throughout the country, they often ask about employee motivation. Their questions are typically along the lines of: “What should I do to my people to make them have my sense of responsibility, dependability, and excitement about providing our customers with value-adding products and services that exceed their expectations?”
That’s an interesting question! And an important one! We’ll come back to it later, but first let’s look at ten questions on a motivation survey – and how you would answer them.
Don’t be alarmed! These questions constitute a survey, not a test! Your answers should reflect your beliefs and feelings – and they can’t be judged as right or wrong. How you feel is how you feel. Besides, nobody else needs to know how you answer each question.
So… here are the questions. As you read each one you might want to mark it with a “Y” for “Yes, agree, or probably true” or an “N” for “No, disagree, or unlikely”.
_____ 1. I would rather be living in 1850, and I wish that I were an indentured servant.
_____ 2. I enjoy achieving goals and having recognition for my achievements.
_____ 3. I would rather be asked to do something instead of being ordered to do it.
_____ 4. I enjoy having someone ask me for my opinion or advice, and I feel good when others listen to me. I also appreciate not being interrupted.
_____ 5. I can get frustrated trying to explain something to someone who has already made up his or her mind, and who won’t even try to understand the additional information or point of view I am presenting.
_____ 6. I am likely to feel better (more interested, less frustrated, etc.) if I have at least some input and influence about matters concerning me.
_____ 7. Time goes faster for me when I am busy, and I tend to get turned on by a sense of achievement or recognition for achievement.
_____ 8. I would prefer to have 10% more income even if, to receive it, I had to work on a different job where the work was of no apparent value or importance.
_____ 9. When I make a mistake, it helps me become more motivated and effective if people point out how stupid or ineffective I am – particularly in front of others.
_____ 10. If I ask my subordinates for their ideas or advice, they most certainly will think I am weak, and as a consequence, respect me less as a manager.
Well, how did you do? Have you learned something about motivation? In my next blog post, let’s review these questions one at a time and see what we can learn about motivation.
How do you motivate your employees? How do help your employees feel they are part of a TEAM?