MOTIVATION AND LEADERSHIP
Motivation and leadership are inextricably linked. Discuss this perspective with reference to one of more organisation(s) with which you are familiar.
MOTIVATION AND LEADERSHIP
This essay will give a detailed look at leadership and analyse the different types that are in use. We will discuss the theory of the hierarchy of needs and how they associate with the motivation to be productive. We will explore the relationship that exists between leadership and motivation with examples of how the two apply in an organisational context.
When we look at the workforce demographics today, it is evident that it has grown over the years to establish motivation, leadership and teamwork as essential factors that will ensure sustainable growth in organisations. (Sadler, 2005) Workers are encouraged to motivate and influence others to play a bigger role in ensuring the success of their teams. Employers are looking for employees who possess certain leadership qualities since times have changed as well as management styles. The work environment is becoming increasingly unstable and coupling that with the removal of direct supervision for motivational purposes has made the motivation to become more challenging. (Gregory Stone, Russell and Patterson, 2004) Another reason why managers find it hard to motivate is due to the lack of understanding of the modern work environment. Managers are yet to see what motivates the new generation of employees that is joining the workforce. Managers are tasked with the duty of leading their teams to realise the goals and targets of the organisation. However, leaders are not tasked with leading from the front at all times since the idea is to create a workforce that requires minimal supervision to achieve results. It goes to show that leadership and motivation are inextricably linked since leaders have a role to ensure that their staff is fully geared towards the task.
Leaders must know how to motivate their team by giving them a sense of purpose drawn from their vision of the organisation. Good vision and mission statement allow the team of employees to know what the future holds and that the right results of today will make the future better. Employees want to be in sustainable careers that will continue growing, and hence they take it upon themselves to follow the vision and ensure that it is realised. Motivation has to be something that comes from within as long as one is given the right impetus. A vision is not a dream that is made up by leaders, but rather it reflects the understanding and breadth that enables organisations to advance and compete.
Good leadership requires a leader to design and direct a definite plan that will ensure the vision is realised. (Barling, Slater and Kevin Kelloway, 2000)The best way to do it is by discussing and debating with the employees since they are responsible for implementing the vision from management. Good motivation skills and techniques is a requirement for any leader who wants to be successful, and hence the two are inseparable. The vision must have a direct link with the core objectives of the organisation, and the employees should be completely sold on the idea such that they are ready and willing to work diligently to ensure the goals are realised. (Webb, 2007)Making the vision all-inclusive will ramp up the commitment of the workforce since they will feel needed and it will also improve their relationship with the management. Relationships between the employees will be healthy since they are tied together as a team in working towards the vision.
Motivation is derived from the Latin word ‘movere’ which means to ‘move’ or to ‘urge’. It is the process of stimulating individuals to perform certain actions that help to achieve the set goals. There are several characteristics to look at when determining motivation:
Effort: The amount of effort that workers apply to a job is one way of looking at the impact of motivation. The effort must be appropriate to the objectives of the company for motivation to be meaningful. Workers could put a lot of effort towards tasks that are inappropriate for the enterprise.
Persistence: it refers to the willingness of the individual. Persistent workers will handle a task until it is complete despite the challenges.
Direction: are the efforts geared toward the individual’s interests or those of the organisation? The persistent effort is applied in the direction that the organisation intends.
Goals: in any organisation, two goals are pursued simultaneously. They include company goals and individual goals and both must be compatible to ensure the right results are realised.
The individual’s in relation to the goals of an organisation must show all the characteristics listed above. Factors like skill levels and aptitude may lead to an adverse impact on the performance as well as motivation based on self-interests instead of considering the goals of the organisation.
Motivation can be either extrinsic or intrinsic depending on the dominant factors:
Extrinsic motivation: it means that the motivation stimuli is emanating from external sources. Factors will include job benefits, salary, benefits and supervision. The desire to perform a task comes from outside sources, but the results of performing the work will be rewarding to the individual.
Intrinsic motivation: the stimuli to perform various tasks comes from within the individual. The individual desires to perform a certain task because it aligns with their belief system and desires. Examples could include acceptance, honour, curiosity or power. (Zhang and Bartol, 2010)
One of the core duties of any management is to ensure that the workforce is sufficiently motivated at all times. Leaders use a broad range of techniques to motivate people since it is highly individualised. In that case, it is important for managers to grasp the psychological aspect towards motivation so they can direct the employees towards the goals of the company in an efficient
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
People are motivated by unfulfilled needs. For example, if you are dissatisfied with living an unhealthy lifestyle and putting on weight, you might decide to start going to the gym. In doing so, you will fulfil various needs such as being happier due to the improved health, losing weight and even gaining new friends. Needs are physiological or psychological insufficiencies that initiate some kind behavioural response in an individual. When someone has a certain need, they are motivated to work towards its fulfilment.
Abraham Maslow is known for being a major contributor towards explaining the needs theory. According to Maslow, there are five levels of needs that are core to the human existence, and they come in a hierarchy. (Adair, 2006) He suggests that people will begin by satisfying their most compelling needs before progressing to the most fulfilling. The needs are as explained below:
- Physiological needs – these are basic needs which include food, shelter, clothing, water and money. There can be no further progress until an individual can gain access to all these needs. These are needs that are essential in sustaining the daily life of an individual. Intrinsic needs include satisfaction and personal comfort while extrinsic values are provided by the organisation, society or community.
- Safety needs– they include stability, security and a well-structured environment. The individual pursues a comfortable work environment, job security, pensions and the freedom to come together and ensure the benefits keep coming. The primary objective of the individual is to ascertain that the benefits are maintained rather than contributing towards the long-term goals of the organisation. The influence of the external environment is very visible at this stage. Personal motivators will be the peace of mind that comes when the benefits are maintained.
- Relationship needs– they include friendship, socialisation, love, companionship and socialisation. The individual participates for fundamental or personal reasons. The person could be drawn to join just to fulfil the need of socialising and creating friends with others. Seniors clubs and social clubs are good examples of organisations that provide these opportunities. Organisations can assist by ensuring that they are well placed to enable the social interaction of employees within the organisation. (Adair, 2006)
- Esteem needs– they include feelings of competence, independence, adequacy, appreciation, confidence and recognition by others. Like in stage 3, the individual is driven by essential needs. The main agenda is to satisfy the needs of the personal ego.
- Self-actualization– the best way to explain this step is, to begin with a question. Why do billionaires continue in their pursuit of further wealth yet they have more than they will ever use? It shows how individualistic and internal motivation can be. Everybody has something they desire that is different from other people. Some billionaires will pursue wealth to increase their power; others will do it to compete with their peers and others will do it to enable them to contribute more to charity. Everyone has their way of deciding what to do to obtain happiness, and it becomes the intrinsic motivator. In an organisation, there should be sufficient opportunities for growth, innovation and creativity to cater for individuals who feel the needs to do beyond the limits. Research and development programs are a good way of channelling the need to advance and be part of something greater.
Dwight Eisenhower once stated, “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want to be done because he wants to do it.” (Darby, 2014, 5)That is a very accurate way of looking at leadership especially in the context of an educational setting. Direction and motivation are closely linked with the human behaviour since leaders bring their personality in the way they conduct their duties. There are certain issues concerning personal conduct that we must address to get a clear understanding of motivational leadership. The assumption that we make is that everybody is like every other person, like some other people or like no other person. In the first case, every person is like everybody else in that we all have an innate need for water, food and shelter as basic needs. Secondly, people are like some others in that some may be dominant and aggressive while others are passive and submissive. Lastly, people are unique in their view of the world and the genetic make-up. (Sadler, 2005)
Any theories relating to leadership and motivation have been made based on observational studies on the leaders and followers. (Webb, 2007) We can hence assume that the theories are influenced by individual human behaviour. The nature of the people plays a significant role in the outcome and effectiveness of leadership practices.
There is a constant debate about whether leaders are born with the ability, or they are developed. Leadership influences can be inherited or acquired through environmental influences. (Webb, 2007) In an organisational context, leadership involves the power that managers place upon the achievement of targets by the employees. Leaders, as we have seen, have a vision and they proceed to work proactively by bringing together strong alliances to achieve the objectives. The self-confidence of good leaders will allow the workers to feel empowered and their belief will increase. Fruitful and sustainable leadership is based on a healthy interaction between the leaders and the subordinates.
There are new leaders, those who attain leadership due to their skills and abilities, and leaders who are given power through the assignment. (Barling, Slater and Kevin Kelloway, 2000) The different types of leader have the same duties that call for their ability. They have to provide strategic direction to the workers in accomplishing their various tasks. Secondly, they must offer social-emotional support. Social and emotional support involves team-building, acknowledging, and supporting them which results in a group that feel motivated.
Emergent leaders are appointed due to their abilities, and hence all their efforts must reflect their expertise. Their role as leaders is vulnerable because any faltering in their duties could be considered as incompetence leading to a lack of support. When leaders lose the support, their role becomes undermined. This type of leadership is mostly seen in citizen-led efforts, community organisations and politics. The leader must always remain responsive to the group agenda. Assigned leaders draw their power from outside the group. They have the powers to delegate tasks, hand out punishments, and reward the deserving people accordingly. (Barling, Slater and Kevin Kelloway, 2000) Assigned leaders have a powerful motivational tool in that they can hand out rewards tailored to compliment the individual needs of the recipients. The punishment and reward system is used in many organisations to keep the people motivated in their duties.
Types of Leadership
Autocratic– the leader uses the available information to make the right decisions. The leader may engage in consultation with subordinates, but the latter are not involved in the decision-making process. The decision is made, and the subordinates have to ensure it is implemented.
Consultative– the leader gets the input of the subordinates by sharing the problem. Subordinate involvement is merely a way of requesting information that may not necessarily influence the decision. The decision is left upon the discretion of the leader. (Sadler, 2005)
Group– the leader, engages the subordinate in the decision-making process by seeking their input on various matters in as group setting. The leader plays the role of a facilitator where they take in the consider the input of everyone and avoiding any prejudicial tendencies.
The best approach to use will depend on the nature of the situation. However, the goal of a good leader should be to arrive at the best decision using the highest-level of low support. (Barling, Slater and Kevin Kelloway, 2000)When leaders engage in consultations with the subordinates, they feel like they are needed and appreciated for their valuable input. When someone feels valued, they become motivated to do even better to ensure that that the leadership always values them. (Gregory Stone, Russell and Patterson, 2004) According to Maslow’s hierarchy, this relationship need is intrinsic, and hence the more the leadership engages them in consultation, the better motivated they become.
Management is responsible for the performance of the entire organisation, and hence we have several features that define a good leader:
Intellectual stimulation– one who is determined to think about the solutions to problems in a creative manner.
Self-confidence– leaders have complete belief in their ability to perform their mandate.
Assertiveness– leaders express their feelings in a direct and honest manner without being manipulative.
Integrity and honesty– leaders must hold themselves to standards that are beyond reproach to set the bar for the subordinates. Integral and honest leaders will garner the support of the subordinates.
Charisma– leaders have to possess qualities that give them significant influence over the other people. They command devotion and loyalty and inspire commitment and dedication among the subordinates who work towards the defined mission. Responsibility arises out of an emotional connection with the leader, and some have even suggested that this is a leadership style in itself. (Miner, 2005)
Motivation– Successful leaders are driven by intrinsic rewards towards achieving their goals. They are motivated by a need for achievement, and they end up driving the workers along the way by tapping into their needs system.
Leadership and Motivation in Organisations
Motivation and leadership have been a significant influence on the corporate culture of multinational companies. Gone are the days when organizations conducted business just to make money. Today, the corporate culture and image of every company are a crucial consideration for managers. Organizational culture refers to attitudes, beliefs, values, rules and expectations that govern any particular organisation. (Miner, 2005) Companies must make sure that new employees, who come in with their values, beliefs and expectations, are given able to fit in and adopt the corporate culture. Companies intend their workers to fit in to ensure that they are productive.
At Proctor & Gamble, for example, they have a motto: “We act on the premise that the men and women of Procter & Gamble will always be our most valuable asset.” (Lafley, 2008) The motto shows the high value that the company places on its employees, and hence they will feel motivated to be part of a big team. All members of the group are required to be leaders in their various areas and to have a deep commitment to delivering leadership results. The employees feel motivated by the fact that they are considered an essential part of the company by management. It is an innovative strategy that managers are using to improve motivation through participation. (Lafley, 2008)Everyone is geared towards achieving the best results to justify their value to the company. Proctor & Gamble have keywords like “Integrity, Trust, Ownership and Passion for winning.” Such words paint them as a company that ensures the employees fit in well and identify with the corporate culture.
At Google, they use transformative leadership to influence the next generation of innovators and leaders. Leaders motivate people by giving them individualised consideration and intellectual stimulation. This leadership approach has increased the level of morale and satisfaction resulting in higher productivity. The group leadership style is used particularly as this is a technology company with a lot of research and innovation taking place. (Stewart, 2013) Group leaders encourage their members to be creative and innovative by allowing them to communicate in a casual manner that is less stressful. Ideas flow more frequently and are implemented even faster due to the lack of official channels which increase bureaucracy and consume time which can be demoralising to the team. Employees are allowed to make decisions regarding certain day-to-day activities which gives them a certain level of empowerment. (Stewart, 2013)Their parallel structure, instead of vertical, allows for greater creativity. The intrinsic rewards, like the small groups and abolishment of the bureaucratic hierarchy, individuals develop a sense of purpose, which motivates them in their duties.
When we look at Maslow’s theory of motivation, we can understand why people behave in their respective manner. We can identify why some people participate at higher levels compared to their peers and to determine the rewards that motivate the individual to perform. In the case of leadership, we can see why some leaders are better at managing people than others based on the different approaches they opt to take. Some leaders will struggle to gain support despite having technical expertise since they lack the ability to manage people.
Understanding leadership and
motivation is a matter of studying human behaviour. It is clear that the two
are inseparable since good leadership must include excellent motivation skills. (Gregory Stone, Russell
and Patterson, 2004) Leaders must study and understand the behavioural
tendencies of people to come up with the best possible way of ensuring they are
dedicated and motivated. One of the surest ways to ensure motivation thrives is
to associate the subordinates in the activities of the organisation and allow
them to be involved in decision-making. (Zhang and Bartol,
2010) When individuals feel valued, they are motivated to uphold the status
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