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Frederick Herzberg Theory : Motivating Your Team

A team that is well-integrated in its efforts to achieve the organizational goals is the key to success of any initiative. Keeping the team enthusiastic about its tasks and rewarding them appropriately is the practice of a good manager. Enthusiasm is translated as motivation in business parlance. Motivation is directly proportional to performance. Performance is also dependent on ability, but the desire to tap one’s own potential to the fullest is the net result of motivation. While abilities have to be honed, in most cases by training, and are also dependent on educational qualifications and experience, motivation is a more achievable variable. There are many ways to get the team motivated, like providing them with positive reinforcing thoughts, training them to be disciplined in an effective manner, treating them fair, setting small achievable goals and ensuring that they realize them, and providing them rewards based on a performance appraisal system.

Some of the common signs of motivation are high performance, enthusiasm, accepting responsibility, working long hours, welcoming change, etc… Some of the common signs of demotivation are apathy, resistance to change, absenteeism, withdrawal, focus on disputes, etc…

Frederick Herzberg researched on the sources of motivation in the 1950s and 1960s. His theory is known as Two-Factor theory or Motivator-Hygiene theory. This was first published in a book entitled “The Motivation to Work”. He proposed that motivators and demotivators function in very different ways. Even though they are the exact opposite of each other, their effect on human psyche might be very different. An example of this is that of offering a pay hike. While this is a very important motivator, one cannot be sure that the quality of work would improve or that the employee is more dedicated to the realization of the organizational goals. A pay hike may prove to be a motivator for obtaining more pay hike and nothing more.

Herzberg suggests that the key points to keep in mind when job satisfaction and motivation are to be worked on are:

• Achievement
• Recognition
• Work
• Responsibility
• Growth

The factors that create most dissatisfaction, Herzberg called them the “hygiene factors”, are:

• Company Policy
• Administration
• Supervision
• Interpersonal Relationships
• Working Conditions
• Salary
• Status
• Security

Based on this classification, Herzberg argued that job satisfaction was opposed by no satisfaction or unhappiness rather than dissatisfaction. The hygiene factors are recognized by checking if they are not a big deal when they are present but are a very big deal if they are absent.

The manager can conduct a session for the team to participate in an activity that is based on Herzberg’s motivation and hygiene factors. All the team members will be asked to write down an action plan consisting of steps that will incorporate Herzberg’s views on motivation. In this manner, the manager can ensure that the team thinks about all the factors that act as impediments to their own work and this activity helps them in self-empowerment. Before they begin, the manager can take ten minutes to introduce the principles of Herzberg. Meeting can be scheduled regularly so as to follow up on the team’s motivation.

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