Chapter 18

Top Ten Ironies of Motivation

In This Chapter

arrow Ensuring you base recognition on what matters to your employees (not you!)

arrow Preventing formal awards from falling short

arrow Avoiding empty praise

One of the definitions of motivation is “why we do what we do.” There are numerous ironies about motivation that make the topic difficult to understand. By examining these ironies, you can better understand the topic of motivation. Following, then, are what I consider the top ten ironies of motivation, in order of importance and prevalence.

Most Managers Think Money Is the Top Motivator

The first irony is all about money (or not). It’s very easy to assume money is the only (or biggest) element that motivates employee, but don’t fall into that trap! Study after study shows that praise and recognition are the greatest motivators for employees. People want to feel they are making a contribution at work; for most individuals, this is a function of having the respect of peers and colleagues, having managers who tell them when they do a good job, and being involved and informed about what’s going on in their departments or organizations.

Catherine Meek, president of Meek Associates, a compensation ...

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