Integrity Matters
April 12, 2006

Security tops the 'motivation' list

Question: (E-234)

Dear Jim:

What is the most effective way to motivate others?


Over and over, enthusiastic and high-performing individuals say they most like to work for people who pay genuine attention to nine basic human needs.

Beyond food, clothing, shelter, education and training, those needs also include reassurance, respect, recognition and rewards.

Leaders who are also effective motivators pay for performance and enable those who work with and for them to care for their own loved ones. Appropriate salaries and high-quality benefits - including insurance, education and training - communicate that all of the employee's family members are important.

Listening, leadership and character are the behavioral building blocks of motivation. Perceptive observers know just how much consistency exists between what leaders say and what they do. It is true that one cannot really fool most of the people most of the time. They see. They know. They remember.

So how does an individual in a position of power make sure that these nine needs are being acknowledged and fulfilled? The answer is simple: learn them, understand them and live them - all the time.

Questions that persons of influence need to answer:

  • Do those you intend to motivate have access and capability to purchase healthy food?
  • Are you confident that those for whom you are a steward are able to provide proper clothing to themselves and those for whom they are responsible?
  • What is the quality of housing of those you have chosen to lead?
  • Is the education they are afforded adequate to leverage their talent and the capabilities of those they support?
  • Will the training provided enable them to build substantively for the future?
  • Is the culture of the organization one of encouragement and nurture?
  • Do all stakeholders know that dignity and respect are central to how decisions are made and actions carried out?
  • Is achievement identified and celebrated on a regular and frequent basis, identifying those who have made notable sacrifices and constructive contributions?
  • Are individuals able to see their value in the form of rewards, whether in terms of new title, greater influence, more money or enlarged responsibilities?
Integrity-centered leaders say "yes" to all of the above. Motivated individuals have come to expect "yes" answers and are more productive when they know those in positions of power and influence know, care and are willing to take actions to address problem areas.

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