This Question and Answer article is reproduced from a weekly publication…for your reading pleasure… 😉
My boss wants me to motivate the people in the organization. I don’t have the heart to tell him that I’m as motivated as a door knob. What’s the best way to get out of this without losing my job?
Chief Chicken Officer
That’s a tough question. How does the motivator motivate when he/she is unmotivated? You could put on a happy face and pretend to be motivated but while you might do a good job at motivating the troops, you can’t do an excellent one because you’re only pretending.
Too many employers still assume that the staff are the enemy and treat them like children. Or they treat them like puppies that have not yet but will eventually pee on the carpet. Too few companies attempt to invite the staff to be part of the big adventure, too few even tell the staff what is going on. It’s left to the staff to trade gossip among them in order to find out what is going on, even to know what the company really does.
Good news is only told as triumph for the boss, and bad news only comes when somebody is made redundant and is being escorted out by security.
Even if the company has an official policy of openness, it’s up to the individual boss to make that happen, and when the good boss leaves, it all goes back to normal. Basically it’s feudalism with a security tag and internet.
Organizations that don’t have good internal communications and don’t operate on a human scale degenerate into a them-and-us situation – the bosses are seen to be enjoying the perks of seniority and slacking off as much as possible, while the staff are left doing the work (or at least thinking they do).
Too often the bosses pay somebody (you, Chief Chicken Officer) to motivate the staff because either they can’t be bothered or they don’t know how to.
I am painting a very bleak picture of an office, but I don’t believe that the traditional office-based job is necessarily the best way to get work done. If the office is not constantly monitored and updated then it will degenerate into general crappiness because it has become stale. It’s not natural for human beings to be forced to sit in airless office all day, watching clock to see how much longer they have the pleasure of sitting in a traffic jam. It’s really not natural but it can be made bearable, even exciting.
Perhaps you, Chief Chicken Officer, are best placed to remedy your own lack of motivation because it probably reflects the lack of motivation in the whole organization. Perhaps you, based on your own experience, can explain to the boss that morale is low, and explain why it is low and offer solutions.
Perhaps the answer is something as simple as a beanbag or coffee machine because a gesture that the boss is listening and treats the staff with respect can be symbolically powerful. Perhaps, the solution is more difficult, but it’s better to be proactive than just another drone. My personal solution to everything is to allow people to work from home, to allow them or to force them to be responsible for their own schedule and output. But that’s just me.
All too often in our work lives, we allow ourselves to have no control over what we do, how we do it and what we can know. We assume that if we are paid to do a job then they own us. How can you get the best out people if you treat them like that?