Having a strong work ethic is something I have always prided myself on. Just knowing that people are counting on me to get the job done, it makes me feel that much more inspired to work harder. Being motivated is one of those things that you need for every person working with, above, or beneath you to have if you want a successful organization. I still recall from both organizational behavior and leadership on how you are supposed to motivate people. Aligning values: making sure that the people you are working with have the same values as you. People are more inclined to work harder if they are passionate about the cause they are working for. Showing respect: it doesn’t matter if they are your custodian or your CEO, respect them and show them how grateful you are for their contributions. Those two points were how as an editor-in-chief, I was able to get my entire team to work as a single, functional, and cohesive unit.
If you are a leader trying to motivate your subordinates, it’s pretty easy. Set a good example, make sure you clarify and communicate your values for the organization, and so long as you show appreciation and respect for their efforts, or should they come up short, give them a very uplifting form a criticism, then they will generally respond well. An example of an uplifting form of criticism would be to say “I believe you are capable of so much more, and we would love to see that!” rather than “You are lazy and clearly don’t want to do your work.” The former just makes people feel recognized and appreciated, and it’ll make them feel that much more inclined to work harder. Being encouraging and uplifting are my secrets to keeping people motivated. Just letting them know that you acknowledge and appreciate their contributions and efforts, it’ll make that much of a difference.
When you are not a leader and trying to motivate, that can be a lot harder. I previously mentioned how I used to be a secretary of a cultural organization, and how I wanted to quit. It was because I tried to motivate my board, but because I was not a president or advisor, nobody would take me seriously until it was too late and the club tanked. My advice would be, in this sort of position, to approach everyone like they are equals, with the exception of your superiors, and with your superiors, just try to say things in a very respectful but still encouraging way. It is a lot harder to motivate when you are not the leader, because as a leader, you can change the culture of a group or organization, but as a follower, you have much less pull. But so long as you are polite but still insistent in your delivery, that’s really the most you can do as a follower. Obviously, if the need for a new leader comes up, then you can step in, but if you really do feel strongly against the level of motivation in your organization, then it might be better to find another cause where the culture better suites your personality.
As stated in Lewin’s equation, behavior is a function of the individual and environment. You, as a leader, can change the environment, but you unfortunately cannot change the individuals within it. It would be up to them on whether or not they are motivated enough to adapt to the new standard or if they would be better off going elsewhere. Motivation is something all organizations need to function. Without it, people just slack off, and everything just falls to the wayside. It happens in businesses, organizations, clubs, and I’ve experienced the lack of motivation in a lot of cases. Use encouragement, respect, and generally, that’s all you need to get people motivated. When those around you are motivated, it takes the pressure of you to be the sole provider in any setting. When you all work together as a strong unit, then there’s no more real stress. Work becomes enjoyable. And enjoyable work is necessary for a feather-light life.