It is rare for a newly appointed manager to be able to select an entirely new team. In the majority of cases, the manager will take control of an existing group of people recruited by his/her predecessors.
The implications are important:
WHEN THE NEW MANAGER IS ALSO NEW TO THE COMPANY – The initial task is to achieve targets and profit through a group of people with only a superficial knowledge of their individual needs and motivations.
WHEN PROMOTED FROM WITHIN THE TEAM – The new manager will know individual members of the team as ex-colleagues, possibly as rivals, and maybe one or two as friends. It is unlikely that much thought has been given to their individual needs and motives in life.
IN EITHER CASE the new manager will have his/her OWN needs and motivations, together with personal tolerances and prejudices about those in the team.
The new manager will prefer to work (at least at the outset) with a team:
- in which there are no immediate threats to his/her own job security;
- with those who have similar moral, ethical, and socio-economic backgrounds;
- and with individuals who are similar (or at least not superior) in terms of technical competence, character, education and general intelligence.
So the new manager will tend to classify team members as:
- Those who are compatible with him/her, who are therefore capable of being motivated to be productive and to perform satisfactorily – and who are in consequence likely to stay.
- Those not bad enough to be dismissed, but not really good enough to keep and who will remain as unco-operative potential troublemakers – and candidates for frequent counselling.
- Those who are totally incompatible, for whom the only solution is their early departure, whether voluntarily or by request.
The future success of these team members is often therefore less a function of their COMPETENCE than of the PURE CHANCE of whether their faces fit and please their new manager.
Such management by ‘pure chance’ is by no means uncommon, yet leads to long-serving, loyal people being lost to the company – often replaced by less competent people who conform more closely to the standards and aspirations of the new manager (sometimes the new people are recruited from the manager’s old company, offering the comfort, security and support of friendly faces while he/she becomes established):
Analysing Individual And Group Motivations
Managers need to identify patterns of individual and group motivation to help build and maintain an effective, compatible, motivated and successful team.
But it is not enough to ask each of your staff: ‘WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?’ – many individuals may not know (or be willing to tell you) the answer.
The most common answer given to the question will probably be ‘money’.
Yet most people who want more money want it to achieve other objectives:
- to some people money bring STATUS;
- to some it offers POWER;
- to others it means SECURITY.
The new recruitment and selection of new team members offers an ideal time to determine which factors motivate individuals, by preparing and asking the relevant questions during the job interviews.
With members of an existing team, gentle and subtle probing during appraisal interviews can offer guidance.
Recognising The Signs Of Demotivation
The symptoms of negative motivation or dissatisfaction are progressively:
AGGRESSION – against individual people or perhaps against the company
REGRESSION – childish or petty or spiteful behaviour
OBSESSION – often (but not always) with the cause of dissatisfaction
RESIGNATION – becoming resigned to the situation with apparent disinterest.
Thus the first sign may be the appearance of aggression in someone who is not normally aggressive. If the cause of dissatisfaction is not removed, then the next stage of petty or childish behaviour will start to appear.
Obviously, the condition will become increasingly difficult to rectify as it develops, and it is vital to recognise and act on the early signs.
Establishing The Cause Of Demotivation
It must be emphasised that these are SYMPTOMS – not CAUSES of demotivation.
Since it is mostly the HYGIENE factors which cause dissatisfaction, it is highly likely that the underlying problem is among Herzberg’s Hygiene list.
So the manager must be prepared for the causes to lie not only in the job situation, but possibly within external; personal or domestic factors. This emphasises the need to know staff well, and treat them as individuals.
If you are not sure what has caused the demotivation, you must find out.
It is frequently difficult to establish the real reasons why an individual is demotivated at work, and the direct question: ‘What’s upsetting you?’ is rarely effective – often making the situation worse.
A professionally handled, well-timed Counselling Meeting is the best method.
Correction Of The Demotivation
If, as is likely, the problem lies among the Hygiene Factors, it is not always possible (or advisable) for the manager to change these factors.
You will not, for example, alter Company Policy to satisfy one individual.
In each individual situation, the manager must first try to rectify the problem, but if not practical, then to persuade the employee to accept it.
But remember that a corrected Hygiene Factor does not in itself motivate, but will merely take the employee into a ‘neutral’ situation. Having resolved the problem, you must then apply positive motivation.