Why is motivation important?
I was at a breakfast meeting the other day and one of the topics was, what are the most important qualities to measure when recruiting new managers into a business?
One of the attendees came out with an interesting comment – something along the lines of: so long as they are motivated, and the drive is there, then I can work on most other things.
For me, I would agree with this, but to a point. Without doubt, motivation is one of the key factors influencing job success. After all, our motivation will determine how much energy and drive we will apply in the workplace, in what areas and for how long.
Motivation will also provide the potential spur to an individual to develop themselves, and address their weaknesses (or blind-spots) – but only if their motivation actually lies in self-development!
This got me thinking about the importance of considering the broader range of an individual’s personal drivers, including (at a basic level):
- The overall energy / drive a person will bring to the job; their key drivers – these may include specific motivators such as “achievement drive” or “fear of failure”
- How they may fit with the culture of an organisation – this may include consideration of other motivational factors such as “ethical working practices” or how structured (or bureaucratic) an organisation’s working practices may be
- Types of tasks / activities they are likely to enjoy more / less – how important will things like job variety and intellectual stimulation be for them as the impetus for their efforts
- Other considerations that will be important to make sure the job move is right –such as money; status; personal / professional development and career advancement.
There are now a number of useful psychometric tools available to help clarify an individual’s motivational profile. These tools will not only clarify the specific motivators that are likely to be important, but will give a sense of relative comparison in these areas – i.e. to what degree is this driver important / less important for one person relative to another.
Finally, as well as helping us to make better informed decisions when recruiting individuals, a deeper understanding of an individual’s motivational profile can also provide a powerful resource to help the prospective line manager get the most out of the new recruit.
Armed with these motivational insight on their new recruit, the line manager can think about – where they might be able to ‘tailor’ a role to play to an individual’s main drivers (reallocate work / tasks within the team etc); how they could adjust their personal style to best effect; and also what might be some of the ‘blind spots’ to watch out for in the new recruit – such as making sure their desire to engage in intellectually stimulating activities is not at the expense of sticking to those more mundane (but still necessary) work tasks!