Many athletes are highly motivated in their chosen areas. This is often due to the high amount of positive reinforcement that they will get from performance measurement, coaches and fans etc.
Sports did not evolve as a necessity; they developed from a fun and competitive position.
In the case of work it has evolved because of a need.
In this case, the use of positive reinforcement was not a great priority.
You were told to do a job, you were paid and therefore you did it.
When you advertise for a job you don’t tend to indicate all of the behaviours required as a list, as if it were a job description. If you did, you would bore people to death and the need for interviews would be limited.
You tend to advertise the rewards or benefits that are associated with the position, for example, pension plan, medical benefits etc.
Making work more interesting or fun is usually frowned upon by management.
It is seen as a time (see The Complete Time Management package) wasting activity and a distraction as professionalism must equate with seriousness.
However, if part of the fun is the celebration of success then it can be a very positive and motivational behaviour.
Celebrations would always be an excuse to relive and event.
If this is the case, the memory of the celebration will reinforce the event.
Encourage people to tell you what they are doing so you can provide yourself with plenty of opportunities for positive reinforcement.
Ask workers “why?” they are doing something and “how?” they do things. Let them talk about themselves and their work.
If you are not liked performance management becomes very tricky.
This is vital in terms of integrity and trust.
It is a cornerstone of leadership (see The Complete Leadership package) as well as good performance management.
This will apply particularly to the consequences that you put in place and any reward structure.
If you expect changes in behaviour the rewards must be forthcoming or trust and performance will disappear quickly.
There is little point in asking others to modify their behaviour if you are not prepared to modify your own behaviour.
Leading by example is one of the strongest aspects of motivation.
Make sure you give this for good performance and not for any other.
Try to reward individuals for their own personal performances.
People are different. What works for one may not work for another.
Positive reinforcement will need to be tailored.
This sort of recognition will improve self reliance and confidence.
New ideas will be more forthcoming which is a benefit to all.
Clear links between behaviours and reinforcement helps everyone and reduces stress in the workplace.
A lack of good performance management ultimately leads to a lack of managerial control and the Theory ‘X’ type behaviour put forward by Douglas McGregor.
The manager’s true role is not to deal in results but to manage the behaviour that leads to those results.
A manager must increase and maintain motivation.
If you need a behaviour change but can’t identify what it is then you need to gather more data through the Stepwise Discussion (see Stepwise Discussion – part 1).
There is no point in asking a person to modify his or her behaviour if it can not have an effect upon the desired result.
Make sure that other issues do not require sorting out first, for example, obstacles.
You need to convince the employee of the need for change and this can only be achieved by full involvement of the individual.
If you just lecture to the person you will not get any recognition of a problem and no improvement.
This recognition must come from the employee preferably using thought transference (see Communication – part 1)
For an individual to know that there is a problem you must raise the issue using preferably neutral feedback (see Feedback – part 1).
This should focus on achievements and not on failures. So, someone who is performing at 70% is not failing by 30% but is achieving at 70%. It is up to you to help raise the current bar from 70% to 100% of target and beyond.
A person does what he or she believes to be logical at the time owing to the limit of their behavioural choices at the time.
It is not until they see it fail or someone points out a better way that they see the light.
In these circumstances you must persuade the person for the need to change.
This is shown more clearly in the Stepwise Discussion (see Stepwise Discussion – part 1).
You will need to be accurate. This applies to both identifying the poor behaviour and identifying the correct behaviour.
As you are working with mature adults you must assume that they are in control of their actions in order to change.
If they are not you may be dealing with mental illness which you will not be able to manage.
There is a need to show that you are there to help to improve performance for the benefit of all and not just there to blame and punish.
With any aspect of motivation you must lead by example, that is, you must display leadership (see The Complete Leadership package).
Focus only on behaviours that you can change and not on attitudes which will almost certainly be wrong.
Make sure you follow up and reinforce.
When you are dealing with people you are not trying to alter their basic values.
You are not trying to change the basic character of an individual.
Firstly, no one can really know what that character may be, as you would be trying to ascertain how an individual thinks.
All you can do is to try to modify behaviour for the benefit of the organisation and the individual.
Role models are extremely important and can be your parents or sports stars, religious leaders or film stars but parents have a greater opportunity to influence and motivate.
A role model can be extremely useful to speak to and observe for their advice and opinions.
You can also develop yourself as a role model for others by acting in a particular manner.
Acting lessons may prove useful for you and help with confidence.