There are hundreds of ways for the destruction of motivation.
It will be up to you to recognise them and either remove them or alleviate their impact.
There will always be negative things in life. Some you may be able to legislate for with contingency planning but others you won’t be able to. In the latter case, how you handle setbacks or hurdles will determine your level of performance.
If you allow setbacks to unduly influence you, performance will drop. If you see it as another challenge to get around performance may well rise sharply as you learn from the experience.
It is very easy to create hurdles from nothing.
For example, if you are over critical during feedback you may destroy the individual’s natural enthusiasm for their work.
Feedback (see Feedback – part 1) is a very tricky area. Performance appraisals (see Appraisals – part 1) tend to grade people against one another which can be devastating for some.
Once poor performance begins it is a slippery slope to losing key people from the organisation.
This is the last thing you want to happen. Whilst you do expect personnel turnover, as a natural consequence of people looking for career development and gaining additional experiences, it does not help to encourage it.
It is great to think about your own motivation, that of your personnel and your local department.
When doing this it is natural to consider all of the things that may get in the way of good performance.
Identifying and alleviating or removing these obstacles is a major part of good leadership (see The Complete Leadership package).
However, you and your team must also be aware of the global picture.
It is similar to the ‘butterfly effect’ where a ripple in one area can have a significant impact in another.
Whenever you propose any changes to systems or policies that improve performance in your own area you must consider the possible knock on effect to other people in other departments.
You may improve at the expense of lower performance (or worse) elsewhere.
In the best situations your decisions locally will have no impact elsewhere.
You may even help others if you draw attention to the way something can be improved provided it applies across the board.
Any system that you come across will have an input, a process, an outcome and some form of feedback.
When you make changes consider all of these aspects both locally and in a global sense.
Remember, you may not upset systems elsewhere per se but you may upset the feelings of people in other areas causing a lowering of morale, loss of motivation and subsequent performance.
Businesses are not run by computers they are run by people and how they interact is paramount to the success of an organisation. People interact with every facet of a company, the computers, processes and other people.
Without good communication the whole edifice can collapse.
Communication for an organisation is much more than the transfer of information it is a social need.
It has been shown that when social communication is absent performance drops.
This can happen when quiet within the workplace apparently solves the issue of concentration only to reduce actual performance owing to a lack of social interaction.
If you want to help your understanding of how decisions may have a knock on effect you will need to have a better all round knowledge of how your business works.
Asking yourself questions like those above and others will give you a better overall feel of the organisation.
Where the answers are unclear may indicate areas to investigate further and improve.
As we have said previously you will need to consider the effect on others before making changes.
When you have identified an area that could be improved, and you have considered knock on effects, consult other members of your team prior to any implementation. Also, speak with key contacts in other departments who may have an input. It may be that their input will identify a link that you have overlooked.
Be careful of putting off necessary change on the basis that people are adapting or the problem may go away.
If this happens, personnel usually know of the problem and can see that no attempt is being made to remedy the situation.
People will either rebel, accept the situation or leave.
If the situation warrants you can get people together to voice their opinions on what is wrong. Get them to suggest solutions and eventually reach a consensus concerning the action. The brain storm is one technique to use here.
It is then just a matter of identifying the person accountable, the schedule and then reviewing what happened.
Trying to get around system issues by shortcuts or temporarily ignoring them is a dangerous habit to break.
By carrying on with an insular approach to removing system de-motivators you may create resentment in others for taking a ‘selfish’ stance. This can be one problem and encourages competition amongst different areas instead of cooperation.
Knowing about organisational systems can form one of the elements you introduce for a training programme.