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Throw motivation myths overboard

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Getting Motivation right
This article is based on the free ebook "Getting Motivation right"

The most valuable, yet complex, resources for any business are the people who work within it. A successful leader needs to become an expert in managing people. There have been numerous books written all about managing people, but still it remains one of the most demanding areas of running a business. Understanding your people is central to this, and discovering what motivates and what de-motivates them is crucial.

Why don`t we start with clarifying some common misconceptions about motivation?


Myth 1: You can motivate your staff

One of the misconceptions about motivation is that you can motivate other people. Motivation is essentially an internal process, and people have to motivate themselves. What you can do however, is to provide the conditions and the environment which is most conducive to people doing this. This is where business leaders can make the greatest difference. Understanding the factors which go into making such an environment is at the core of business success.


Myth 2: Money is the main motivator

This is not generally true. Research has shown repeatedly that, although money is important, it is not usually at the top of people’s list of motivators – in fact it is normally some way down their priorities. It is true that poor pay tends to de-motivate people, but the opposite does not always follow. There are generally more important factors that are worth considering.


Myth 3: Fear is one of the best motivators

This may be true in the short-term, but fear is a poor long-term stimulus to motivation. Over a longer period fear tends to act as a strong de-motivator, such that employees will often aim to leave as soon as they can.


Myth 4: I know what motivates me, so I understand what motivates them

This is unlikely to be true, since different things tend to motivate different people. Although there are some fairly universal motivators, we are drawn by them at different levels, so what may be important to you may be less important to somebody else.


Get even more input on how motivation works and read “Getting Motivation Right – How to get everyone in your business motivated” written by Anthony Bagshawe.