• United States

Motivation mailbag: Part 2

May 06, 20032 mins
Data Center

* More readers share what inspires them to give 110% at work

A few weeks ago I reported the results of a study about motivation (see: I already shared one batch of reader feedback about what inspires them to give their all in the workplace, and have since received many more responses.

Russ Vanderwerf, a technical sales consultant, agrees with Mel Hudson who had said that money is the primary motivator. “As much as employers want to believe that a pat on the back and other forms of recognition are what motivates people, they are wrong.  The reason anyone goes the extra mile at work is the hope of a promotion or a bigger raise,” Vanderwerf writes. “As one of my employees used to tell me ‘a pat on the back doesn’t get me a loaf of bread at the grocery store.’”

Not so fast, says student Steve Norman. “I would agree that money is important for people, especially in today’s tough economy, but money’s ability to truly motivate people is limited in my mind given my readings and experiences as both a manager and an individual contributor,” he says. “I believe motivation comes from inside an individual (intrinsic) and money is clearly an extrinsic reward.”

Wolf Halton enjoys his new job as a chief implementation officer for a nonprofit organization. “I, like everybody else, felt I needed to do the 24-hour on call thing, work long hours and neglect my life and family.  The company I worked for accepted all they could get for free out of me, and then started to cut benefits.”

Halton said his previous salary was adequate, but when he factored in all the hours he was working, “I decided I could wait tables at IHOP and get as good an income and free meals as well as have my home life back.” He laments that employers overwork and underpay their IT folks, and these people just want to reclaim their self-esteem.

Finally, Paul Lythgoe shared a list of many qualities that motivate him to be a good manager. Among them, he lists: the need to understand the corporate values and mission as well as his own required goals; the freedom to lead his own team; a decent training budget; the ability to have some fun; and good communication.