Take a minute to think of your favorite manager. What was it about his or her management style that left such a positive memory? Was she a good communicator, a mentor figure in your early career, or did he know just what to say to motivate you? Whatever it was, that personality and people management style left a lasting impression.
For many, a bad manager is just as memorable, if not more memorable, than a good one. Unfortunately, some find themselves in management positions before they are properly trained and therefore poorly manage and motivate their team. For example, these five common “motivational” myths tend to have the opposite effect on employees behavior. In fact, they actually cause employee disengagement and decreased morale.
The Five Most Common Myths About Motivation
- Having a job should be motivational enough.
In some job markets, such as the Great Recession, this might be true, but not incenting employees because jobs are temporarily scarce is shortsighted. And once more opportunities become available, you might experience low retention.
- Money is the greatest motivator.
While fair and competitive compensation helps recruit and retain top talent, monetary rewards are not always the best motivators. In fact, 72 percent of people surveyed said they would work harder if their managers better recognized them in general.
- Nothing lights fire like fear.
Fear isn’t a good motivator; it’s a great motivator. Just ask anyone who has ever been fearful of losing her job or livelihood. But fear’s power is usually only temporary. Over time, it creates a stressful, unhealthy environment—one that good employees will soon leave behind.
- Good motivation theories and practices will work for all employees.
If your workforce involves more than one person, you can bet each has his own individual motivators. There is no one-size-fits all approach for motivating people. Motivate appropriately and effectively by knowing each member of your team.
- Sales reps are either naturally motivated or they aren’t.
Thinking that some are more inherently motivated than others is one of the most dangerous misunderstandings of all. Sales leaders who label reps as either fundamentally “lazy” or “driven” fail to see and inspire individual potential to rise to life.
You’d probably rather your employees to consider you the best boss they’ve ever had, than “that terrible manager that I was lucky to escape.” Have no fear, even if you’ve made a motivation mistake or two in the past, it’s not too late to change your ways.
Download our guide "Objectives: the Ultimate Productivity Hack for your Team" to learn more about employee disengagement and how to build high-performing teams. Or, see the infographic below for our five common motivational myths.