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Dec14
Timeless Principle #6 – It’s Not Always About the Money

Over the past few weeks, I’ve shared some simple (but not simplistic) principles every manager needs to know.  As a review, here are the first five:

1. Quit focusing on the outward appearance and concentrate on what’s on the inside.

2. Be a good listener. 

3. Put Yourself in Your Employees’ Shoes 

4.  Be humble – nobody is good enough to be arrogant! 

5.  Allow people to have some autonomy – don’t micromanage them 

One of the most common complaints I hear from managers is that they need some way to motivate their employees, but the budget doesn’t allow for raises.  Without the ability to give a bonus or a raise, they feel powerless. 

I have news for them (and you):  It’s Not Always About the Money! 

What people don’t realize is that in many cases, what troubles people about a job and leads to a lack of motivation isn’t the pay or benefits necessarily, but maybe the job itself.  Think back on the worst job you ever had.  Chances are that it wasn’t the pay that annoyed you, it was most likely the boss you had (see Points #4 and 5 above) or the job itself.  Maybe it wasn’t challenging.  Perhaps you felt a lack of recognition or growth.  If that was the case, you had no job satisfaction.

This isn’t a new discovery.  Back in the 1950s, a researcher named Frederick Herzberg did some studies that proved an interesting point:  there is a difference between having job satisfaction and having job dissatisfaction.  Job satisfaction centered around a challenging job, upward mobility, and the intrinsic rewards of the job itself.  Job dissatisfaction came from poor pay and benefits and perhaps an unsafe environment.  These are mutually exclusive.  You can’t solve a job satisfaction problem with a job dissatisfaction solution. 

What does this mean? 

If you hate your job right now because the pay is low, then getting more responsibility or some recognition won’t help you.  Conversely, if you find the pay satisfactory but you feel like you’re in a dead end job, a pay raise or bonus will only provide a temporary burst of motivation.  If this is the case for you, then imagine what your employees are going through.  Can you tell the difference in them?

So here’s your challenge this week.  Take a look at the people you work with.  See if you can identify those who love their job, those who are dissatisfied with their job, and those who have no job satisfaction.  Now that you know the difference between the last two, you can take steps to meet their needs.  If you don’t have money to pay them more, take a hard look at the reason they’re unhappy.  Is it a satisfaction problem?  Ask them what would make the job more attractive.  See if you can put them on a track for promotion.  Allow them to take on a new challenge in an area that attracts them.  If they’re dissatisfied, communicate to them what your financial situation is.  See if they can hang on until things improve.  Do what you can to get them through the down time now and keep them with you.

It’s not “one size fits all” when it comes to motivation.  Get to know your employees this week and you’ll be able to give the right prescription for motivation!


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