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Publications > Dateline Houston > November 2003 > Feature Article

Volume 43, Issue 2

November 2003

Developing Commitment and Motivation

by Suzanna Laurent, STC Second Vice President, and STC Associate Fellow

Developing a stronger commitment and the motivation to do more helps you to become more valuable in the marketplace and on a team.

Have you ever wondered how to help yourself and others build the commitment and motivation needed for a particular project? Successful managers know that they must understand what people want to get from their work before they can help them build these important traits.

Victor Vroom came up with his Expectancy Theory some time ago, and it is critical to understanding worker satisfaction and motivation. It is mainstream psychology—simple, practical, and effective! This theory explains that when people are given choices, they choose the option that promises to give them the greatest reward.

Of course, as we all know, what constitutes a reward for one person can be quite different for someone else. So, if people are motivated by their needs, finding out what their needs are and placing them in positions that fill those needs creates a win-win relationship.

These steps toward greater motivation are based on the Expectancy Theory, and when used properly they can help you to stimulate others to perform well.

Tell people what you expect them to do! This should be done on a regular basis, not just at the beginning of a project. Clearly explain what the vision of the organization is, where you are going, and what you want to accomplish. Be as specific as possible and share common goals with them. Explain the standards of performance you expect. Effective communication inspires people to volunteer.

Make the work valuable. When possible, assign work that people like to do. Give them work they can do (or learn to do) well and that helps them achieve their goals. This is work that they consider of value to themselves and others.

Make the work "doable." This increases the people's confidence that they can do what you expect. You may have to provide training, coaching, mentoring, listening, or resources to enable them to perform the work well. And remember that the attitudes a manager has toward subordinates can affect the work they do.

Invite people to come to you with any concerns they have after they begin work. Tell them "if you like it, tell others; if you don't, tell me." Listen for feedback from people as new information or changes are shared.

When change is necessary, involve people in the decisions that affect them if at all possible. This makes them a part of the change process and rewards them for positive contributions.

Give feedback! Tell people how well they are doing. Positive feedback inspires them to continue to do well. Negative feedback explains their mistakes and then asks them to correct the mistakes and learn.

Reward successful performance along the way. Rewards don't necessarily have to be monetary; they include recognition, more responsibility, or a promotion to new duties.

By developing a stronger commitment and the motivation to become all you can be, you can be of more value to yourself and others as well!

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