EDD 7200 – Supervisory Behavior
October 11, 2010
Article Summary: “How to Motivate Your Problem People”
In his article, “How to Motivate Your Problem People” (2003), Nigel Nicholson offers readers strategies to energize employees who don’t appear to be motivated. Nicholson starts by saying that, “good managers motivate with the power of their vision, the passion of their delivery, and the compelling logic of their reasoning” (p. 57). However, managers and leaders often find it tough to get everyone working to their fullest potential. A fundamental rule of management is that “you can’t change people’s character; you can’t even control their actions most of the time. Change comes from within or not at all” (p. 59). Likewise, “external incentives have limited impact” (p. 57). If you can’t motivate people, how does one create circumstances in which a person’s inherent motivation kicks in? Many managers use the “tell and sell” approach (p. 58) to try to motivate people. Nicholson states that believing other people have the same thought processes as they do is a fallacy. Even though it would be unlikely to transform every unmotivated employee, managers must “find the person’s locus of energy and leverage it to achieve your ends” (p. 60).
Nicholson gives a three-step method that will put an end of the evasions, repetitions, and broken promises (pp. 60-64).
Step 1: Create a Rich Picture: Managers must work to understand where a
problem employee is coming from. To do this, it is important to have a series of informal conversations. You must also accept that you may be an inadvertent cause of your employee’s lack of motivation. It is critical to find out how the employee views you.
Step 2: Reframe Your Goals: Failure to realize that not everyone sees…