Will I get to all of those? I doubt it since I'm way too prone to rambling.
I've long made a habit of observing those I believe to be good managers - the people I've most enjoyed working for. I tried to take as much of those observations, along with training and education, into the role of management with me when I went. Not long after I embarked on the management path I had an opportunity to chat with one of those former managers I admired and the topic turned to motivation - how does one go about motivating people.
Mr. Admired Manager said something that has stuck with me and that I've spent many hours pondering and trying to figure out if I fully believe or not. To date I've only arrived at being reasonably convinced that what he said was quite valuable. He said, "You can't motivate people. People motivate themselves. All you can do is try to make clear to them the choices available and, when possible, add an attractive choice to the list. The trick is recognizing the choices and understanding individuals well enough to make good guesses about which choice is most attractive to them. People motivate themselves to pursue the things they want. The rest is just 'please' and 'thank you'."
The reason I am not fully convinced that what Mr. AM told me is completely accurate is because people do not always seem to appreciate having choices, especially when the choices available are all "good" to varying degrees or all "bad" to varying degrees. Not wanting to choose among "bad" things is understandable. Nobody wants to take their medicine and the spoonful of sugar only helps it go down, it doesn't help us to love the medicine. The more perplexing oddity, however, is how choosing among "good" things can be perceived as painful or difficult. Put a kid in front of a candy counter where the selection does not include his clear and forever favorite candy and it rarely matters to him that he'll like whatever he picks, the choice is difficult and once made the second guessing and woulda-shoulda-coulda will begin.
Even more odd than the candy-picking malcontented kid is when this sort of thing is exhibited by people old enough to know better. For example, Choices Create Confusion. They wanted it, they got it, and now they're ticked off about it.
The deep meaning of Ben Rhodes
1 hour ago