Putting It Together: Motivation

Drill instructor disciplining soldier with others standing at attention

It’s important to understand the theories of motivation and when to use them

Do you remember Carol from the beginning of the module? She is seeing signs of low motivation from her team as several members are starting to regularly be late getting into the office. She is meeting with Sam to discuss what she should do.

“Sam, I’ve thought a lot about our earlier conversation, and I am concerned that if I don’t do something about my team’s tardiness, I could have a real problem on my hands.”

Sam agrees and says, “Carol, have you addressed anyone on your team for coming in late?”

She thinks for a minute. “No, I guess not. I’ve been so concerned about being accepted as a manager that I was afraid of the team’s response.”

After discussing the situation in greater depth, Sam suggests that Carol pull out her notes from business school related to goal-setting theory. The two of them decide to apply this theory to not only motivate employees to be on time for work but also to reach for more challenging goals. The idea is that if employees are motivated and excited to work hard toward goals that make work interesting and challenging, they will be more likely to put in the effort to show up for work on time.

They come up with a plan for Carol to meet with each employee to discuss the employee’s individual goals, as well as the company’s goals for the employee. In these meetings, Carol is able to explain the effect that tardiness has on the employee’s performance, as well as how it negatively affects other employees and the company as a whole. Carol works with the employees to help them see how being on time for work can lead to greater success in the workplace, which can lead to rewards such as bonuses and promotions.

In meeting with her employees, Carol and the employee set up specific, realistic goals. She then sets up periodic check-ins with the employees to see how they are progressing toward their goals, as well as to offer assistance and support. After a few months, Carol happily reports to Sam that her employee tardiness problem has been resolved.

In this module you’ve learned about the theories of motivation and how to apply them to influence behavior. One of the key aspects of management is getting work done through others, so it’s vitally important that you be able to motivate your team to respond appropriately. This module has provided you with the tools to be successful in these endeavors.