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The basic motivational philosophy of any organization towards its members should be to help them get what they want. Group members measure the quality of their organization through the trust, commitment and love its leaders show towards them. A leader will foster motivation within an organization by helping his/her group members develop a good healthy self image. If group members are to develop this healthy self image within an organization a leader must follow five basic rules: Do what's right, Do the best you can, Treat others as you'd like to be treated, Exhibit a positive attitude, and Expect the best at all times. Group members tend not only to look up to their leaders, but also tend to live up to their leader's expectations - good, bad or indifferent. Therefore, expect the best at all times and you'll increase your chances of getting it.
The word motivation comes from the Latin word movers which means to move forward satisfying a need. Since each person's motivation comes from within then we truly cannot motivate other people. However, if we know what personal motives or needs regulate a person's internal energy flow then we can still stimulate them into action. As a leader, it is important that you assess and understand your own motives as well as those of your group members. Are people participating in your organization to become knowledgeable about a specific academic or professional field? Is their participation a recreational or entertainment outlet? Is their participation a relief from the rigors of studying or are they involved to meet people? Whatever their reasons for joining your organization it is important to note that there are four major forces that motivate people: accomplishment/achievement, recognition, power and affiliation.
Achievers are people who want interesting work or the opportunity to achieve something significant. They thrive in situations in which they can take personal responsibility and calculated risks, set goals and solve problems. Achievers need constant and concrete feedback, especially the impact that their contributions have had on the greater whole. It is important to them that their contributions actually make a difference beyond their own immediate personal gain.
Certain people want to be appreciated for what they actually do in an organization and derive personal satisfaction from that direct involvement. They expect special benefits and privileges as a result of their participation and thrive on recognition from others, especially positive recognition.
Other people also want the opportunity to compete for responsibility and authority within an organization. They like to influence others directly and tend to manage groups well without being manipulative. They thrive on being involved in program production and planning and also like the opportunity to apply new skills in the proper contexts.
People involved withing the group need to feel that they belong and are accepted by the group members. They like cooperating and being in on things, meeting and/or knowing many people, and enjoy having fun. Since members need to feel welcome then they must be kept informed at all times. They also care about their feelings and the feelings of others and derive satisfaction for a job well done, especially if it involves serving others.
If you can determine the source of an individual's motivation, you can begin to unleash his or her energies and ideas and maximize that member's potential within the organization. It is important that you allow them the opportunity to use their individual talents to the benefit of the organization. For example, if someone is an advertising major, ask them to coordinate your publicity campaigns. A leader must set goals that will help meet group member's wants and your organization's needs at the same time. Keep focused on the goals, talk about them often, and praise progress towards those goals.
Give your members an accurate view of the situation. Be honest. Listen and respond to the questions they raise. Most importantly, create an environment in which they feel free to raise questions. Be positive and appreciative of suggestions made by committee members. If you seem indifferent to members' opinions, your committee may lose interest.
Learn to look beyond a person's current abilities and identify any potential that needs developing. In doing so, you will increase the group member's satisfaction by allowing them the opportunity to achieve within the organization. Group members need to be given some control over the job tasks, an opportunity to exercise responsibility, and a reason to feel they are learning and growing. Start delegating small tasks to your members. As they are successful in carrying out these tasks, give them more responsibility. Encourage them to make their needs known to you.
You can increase a person's motivation by:
- Increasing the rewards he or she anticipates receiving or the individual's satisfaction level with the organization, and/or reducing the psychological time or resource costs he or she anticipates incurring.
- Skillful leaders learn to use motivation selectively like a dash of pepper in food. As with so much in leadership development, common sense and simple approaches are usually the most effective ones.
The following methods of motivation tend to have "universal" application in most groups:
- Use people's names often. Make it a point to learn the names and connect the faces of the people in your organization.
- Actively listen to others. Demonstrate good, open body language. Be courteous/respectful.
- Be fair, honest and consistent -- show no favoritism. Observe with equal care so you can determine which group members find joy in getting work done, which want praise for a job well done, which need leadership opportunities and which want to be part of a team.
- Keep members informed -- what they're not up on, they're likely to be down on. Survey your membership to see what group members want or need and provide avenues for recognition.
- Build prestige into jobs by giving titles and appropriate authority.
- Give individual attention and demonstrate that you understand members and accept their strengths and weaknesses. Assess the chemistry among those who work together and make the necessary changes to make that chemistry more effective. Create various mentoring relationships within the organization by teaming up experienced members with newer members.
- Provide honest feedback -- praise their successes publicly and privately give constructive criticism to help them learn from their mistakes.
- Involve members in goal setting and decision making and clarify your expectations of members and their expectations of you.
- Use ice breakers or team building activities in newly formed leadership teams or committees to energize the group members and strengthen the organization.
- Occasionally serve food at your meetings or have social events outside of work.
- Since motivation stems from inner needs, drives and goals, the leader's task in motivating others is to tap into these to supply a channel for their fulfillment. The individual members must still do the rest.
Reference: Miami Ohio University