Friday, February 24, 2012

Does Your Boss Motivate You?

Heidi Grant Halvorson is associate director of the Motivation Science Center at the Columbia University Business School and a popular blogger on motivational science. She co-authored “The Psychology of Goals” and is author of “9 Things Successful People Do Differently” and “Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals.” Anita Bruzzese recently interviewed her on how motivation plays a role in the workplace.

AB: What do you think is the biggest mistake mangers make when trying to engage their workers and motivate them?

HGH: Many managers have a hard time giving motivating feedback. When things go wrong, we need to be willing to give honest criticism – because improvement is impossible without it — while fighting employee self-doubt. She needs to believe that success is within her reach, regardless of the mistakes she has made in the past. To do this, you need to be specific. What needs improvement, and what exactly can be done to improve? When you are a manager, helping your employee figure out how to do it right is just as important as letting them know what they are doing wrong.

You also need to emphasize actions that she has the power to change. Talk about aspects of her performance that are under her control, like the time and effort she put into a project, or thor the strategic approach she used.

AB: Do you think that motivation for workers has changed since the economic downturn? Why or why not?

HGH: Americans have a well-earned reputation for risk-taking, but these days we are something of a timid lot. When making decisions, lately many of us have been focused much more on what we have to lose than on what we might gain. Whenever we see our goals – whether they are organizational or personal – in terms of what we have to lose, we have what’s called a prevention focus. Prevention motivation is about obtaining security, avoiding mistakes, and fulfilling responsibilities. It’s about trying to hang on to...(read the rest on Intuit's Quickbase blog here.)

No comments: