Employee Motivation

All people are motivated.  Yes, you heard me right.  All people are motivated.  They may not be motivated to do what you want them to do, but they are in fact motivated.

When I was new in management, I thought people would do what I wanted them to do because I said so.  Wrong.  I liked the word boss and I was thrilled to be one.  The only thing I knew about bossing was to boss everyone around.  There’s a word for my old management style – dictatorial.

My bull-in-a-china-closet style eventually forced me to read many books on the subject of management.  I learned that to manage others, I must learn first to manage myself well.  I learned that to be effective, I must set an example, and that people want to be led, not managed.

Many books have been written on management and leadership.  The book that comes to mind as having the most valuable information on management-building skills is The Greatest Management Principle, by Michael Lebouf.  Lebouf taught me what I consider the most important thing a manager must know to be successful.  To be a successful manager, you must know that if you want someone to perform any type of function, you must measure or at least acknowledge the results.

You must be saying, “That sounds way too much like baby-sitting.  No way, not me, I won’t do that.  I hired competent people and I expect them to perform without my involvement.”  If this is exactly how you feel, you will learn this lesson exactly as I did, through turnover.

From reading The Greatest Management Principle, I also figured out that it is a rip-off to ask an employee to perform a special assignment and then not recognize the contribution.  I used to think that a paycheck was the thanks my staff wanted and needed.  Wrong again.  People do want fair compensation, but beyond that, it’s recognition they want.  Some people want standing ovations and some want a verbal pat on the back.  Some people want very little attention drawn to them, so a sealed note would work just as well.  What we all have in common is that we want to feel important.  If you don’t make your employees feel important, they will go to work for someone who will.  Remember, people do things for their own reasons, not yours.

Leaving a Bad Situation

Dear Jean,

Recently, I had a job where the bosses didn’t talk properly to me.  I just walked out and quit.  I was pretty upset.  I know that is not the best way to handle things, so how would you handle the situation?


Rude is one thing and abusive is another.  A lot of people are just rather short and it can be perceived as rudeness.  A rude boss is not a reason to quit unless he or she is always rude.  Even then, don’t walk out.  Give notice.

Not giving notice will become part of your job history.  Make sure the next time you want to walk off a job, you know the difference between rude and abusive.  If your boss is rude, give a two-week notice.

Abusiveness is another issue altogether.  If your boss is touching you, swearing at you, throwing things or screaming uncontrollably, leave.  No notice required here.

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