Why Leaders Should Never Rely on External Motivators

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

Engaged and self-motivated employees are essential when it comes to a successful company.

However, suppose the leaders of a company are constantly conducting motivational sessions by inviting external "motivators" to boost employee morale. In that case, it is a clear indicator that their employees have become disengaged.

The research titled "The impact of self-motivation on performance: Evidence from the field" by Matthijs Baas, J. Keith Murnighan, and D. Scott Tannenbaum, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology in 2018 revealed an interesting fact.

The study was conducted on a sample of salespeople in a large multinational corporation. It found that self-motivated salespeople outperformed their less self-motivated counterparts in sales performance, even after controlling for factors such as job tenure and experience.

This research highlights the importance of self-motivation in the corporate world. 

When self-motivated, employees are more likely to persist in facing challenges and take a lot more initiative in their work. They are also highly productive, innovative, and likely to stay with the company.

The problem is that leaders consciously NEED TO create a positive work environment that promotes employee engagement and self-motivation.

When leaders fail to create this positive work environment, employees may become disengaged, productivity decreases, and job satisfaction decreases. In a situation like this, the leaders turn to external motivators to boost employee morale. 

However, this approach is a short-term solution. It's like putting a band-aid on a wound, it might temporarily cover the symptoms, but it doesn't address the underlying problem.

What is the best solution?

It starts with effective communication, which means listening to employees' ideas, solving their problems or concerns, and keeping them informed about company developments and long-term goals. 

Recognizing and rewarding employees for a job well done is another important aspect of creating a positive work environment.

Leaders should also provide opportunities for growth and development, such as training and mentoring programs, to help employees improve their skills and show that the company values their contributions and is invested in their success.

Creating a sense of community and teamwork among employees is also crucial. Leaders can make it through team-building activities and by fostering an open and inclusive culture where employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions.

It's important to note that creating a positive work environment is not a one-time event but an ongoing process that requires the commitment and involvement of everyone in the organization, especially the leaders. 

The leaders must lead by example, show a positive attitude, be approachable and ensure that the company culture is aligned with their values.

Remember, all the initiatives to create long-lasting positive changes in the workplace must start from the top!