TMS RESEARCH – PERSPECTIVES: What’s Up With Motivation?!? Part 2

Tom GibbonsOrganization Development, ResearchLeave a Comment

In the last post we looked at the satisfaction and importance ratings for the Linking Skill, Motivation. As can be seen by the tables below from the TMS research material on the Linking Skills Profile the skill of Motivation ranks in the middle of importance and the lowest in satisfaction for the worldwide sample.

The question was posed why might this skill of motivation be rated lowest in satisfaction?

From my perspective I think the reason for this is that for years now, in mainstream and popular theories of organizations we have been told that someone else, someone with power is responsible for our motivation. Almost any list of performance objectives for anyone who has people reporting to them in the organizational hierarchy will have an objective stating that they are accountable for the motivation of the people reporting to them.

And if we are one of those people, we have come to accept this as true. Our boss, leader, manager, CEO is responsible for our motivation and if she or he is not motivating us effectively we let them know we are not satisfied with their performance. We end up with the satisfaction rating we see above, the lowest of all 13 Linking Skills.

From my perspective the problem here is not with the person’s capacity to motivate, it is our belief that someone else should be accountable for our motivation in the first place!

I think we see this low satisfaction rating because we have swallowed this fallacy hook, line and sinker. That someone else can actually deliver on, first, understanding the complexities of what motivates us, then second, actually being able to deliver on that within the constraints of what can actually be done in an organization. I’m actually quite surprised the satisfaction number is as high as it is!

So you may ask, with this perspective do I have a problem with motivation being listed as one of the 13 Linking Skills? Actually I don’t. Having it there enables me/us to address this fallacy head on. So when a leader/manager gets a low satisfaction score we can talk about it from this perspective and do our best to try and right this situation!

To put motivation back in the hands of the person most responsible for it….. you!

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