In my first blog post about motivation, I posed ten statements as part of a motivation survey. I have found that questions are one of the most powerful tools for discovery and learning. The statements in the survey require you to ask questions of yourself and think more deeply about this important topic.
Now let’s review the statements one at a time and see what we can learn about ourselves and our people from this motivation survey.
I would rather be living in 1850, and I wish that I were an indentured servant.
I’ve never had anyone answer “Yes” to this. The fact is people who have spread their wings personally and professionally want to feel useful intellectually as well as physically. Certainly being “just a servant” isn’t appealing to them.
I enjoy achieving goals and having recognition for my achievements.
Virtually everybody agrees with this. That’s why they play golf, why Little Leaguers want to get base hits, and why kids smile proudly when they’ve aced a test.
I would rather be asked to do something instead of being ordered to do it.
Sure. Most people feel better when they are treated considerately. And, of course, when ordered to do something we feel more like a servant, and we’re back into the situation of question number one. We want to participate and feel engaged in how we live our life at home and at work.
I enjoy having someone ask me for my opinion or advice. I feel good when others listen to me. I also appreciate not being interrupted.
Most of us enjoy being considered worthy of having potentially useful opinions. When we’re interrupted, the other person is demonstrating that our opinions aren’t very worthwhile.
It’s easy to conclude that if our opinions aren’t worthwhile then we, as individuals, aren’t worthwhile. That certainly doesn’t help us feel good about ourselves!
As Christians, we know that the value of human life is intrinsic because it derives from God, who makes humanity in His image (Genesis 1:26-27). Due to this framework we as believers often fight for this truth consciously and sometimes unconsciously in our communities.
I can get frustrated trying to explain something to someone who has already made up his or her mind. Who won’t even try to understand the additional information or point of view I am presenting.
This is what happens when we’re talking with someone who already has made up his or her mind. As is the case when something has already been decided and the advocate is hoping to get “buy-in.”
Proverbs 18:13 says, “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.”
In these situations, we feel as if we’re talking to a brick wall – and who among us would be happy wasting time that way?
So, most people agree with this statement. However, we should note that some people have pointed out that even though we may not feel good about being ignored, we should be mature enough not to allow ourselves to become frustrated over it – so they answer “No.”
I am likely to feel better (more interested, less frustrated, etc.) if I have at least some input and influence about matters concerning me.
Most people answer “Yes” to this one. For example, most janitors would appreciate being asked about what brand of buffing compound they’d like to use.
Suppose an aloof purchasing agent buys the compound without asking the janitor about it. In that case, the agent can be viewed as considering the janitor to be just a janitor. And nobody wants to be seen as just anything! We want to include and engage our people in the bigger vision and purpose of what we are doing in a business, church, non-profit, or educational institution.
Time goes faster for me when I am busy. I am incentivized by a sense of achievement or recognition for achievement.
Isn’t it interesting how some days seem to just fly by? Suddenly, we may realize it’s time to go home – and boy, doesn’t it feel good to have accomplished all that we did!
Achievement drives a certain percentage of people this drive to achieve and produce can help motivate people. Knowing if this drives you or your people is crucial to engaging your people effectively.
I would prefer to have 10% more income even if to receive it I had to work on a different job where the work was of no apparent value or importance.
Think about this. Most people recognize that there’s no way they’d be willing to push against a brick wall fifty-five minutes per hour for eight hours a day, day after day! There’d be no way to gain a sense of achievement and worthiness.
This question gets to the core of being motivated by intrinsic or extrinsic factors. Most people do want more pay and to be recognized for their investment however knowing that what they are doing has meaning will often trump this need for many.
When I make a mistake, it helps me become more motivated and effective if people point out how stupid or ineffective I am. Particularly in front of others.
There’s a long-standing recommendation about praising in public and criticizing in private. We’ve never run across anyone who revels in being publicly criticized or demeaned.
Also, it’s been suggested that corrective advice be phrased along the lines of looking forward to opportunity rather than backward to blame.
For example, “You’re still messing up on four percent of these.” This doesn’t help me maintain or enhance my sense of self-worth. “Is there some way we could achieve a higher success rate than 96%?” presents a challenge without making me feel inadequate.
If I ask my subordinates for their ideas or advice, they most certainly will think I am weak and consequently respect me less as a leader.
Most people admit that this can be answered “No.” First, no one expects leaders to know everything. And he or she should not pretend they do.
Second, almost all people can contribute useful insights and suggestions when they are asked – and they enjoy being respected as worthy participants in decision-making processes. And, as a friend once pointed out,
“You can’t have an inspired set of associates if you ask them to check their brains at the door!”
Well, we have learned a lot about motivation with the questions on this motivation survey. Let’s think about our answers and how they can help us develop a great TEAM.
Pause and Reflect: Motivation Survey
- Have you gained any insight as to how you can lead your people better with this motivation survey?
- Are you and your team motivated more by intrinsic or extrinsic factors?
- How can you motivate your team with participative leadership?
Related, Articles, Videos, and Podcast Episodes
- The Driving Force of Motivation
- Build Your Team Through Trust
- Sustainable Service and Stewardship with John Pellowe
- Making Disciples Through Christian Education with Jason Rachels
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