What Doesn’t Motivate People

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

An article in Inc. 9 Things That Motivate Employees More Than Money got me riled up. Sounded like the writer once worked for a boss who was really good with people, but some of the lessons learned were baffling. Here was my comment on the Inc. website:

I’m glad you learned some things from your old boss, but there are some big things missing. First, your boss or you don’t mention the importance of clear goals. Edwin Locke’s research found clear goals were the top motivator. And I strongly disagree with never criticize or correct. I think your point is to engage people in conversations about performance. I like that, but if your boss really asked, “Was that the best way to approach the problem? Why not? Have any ideas on what you could have done differently?” – is condescending. People don’t want to be humiliated, insulted or have their intelligence insulted, but people who care about their performance usually want guidance on ways to make things better. . . One last thing that motivates people and that’s work that makes a difference. Without clear goals, work that matters, and honest productive feedback, everything else may be nice but merely fluff.

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