9.30.16 Issue #760 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Elizabeth Brackin, PsyD
Leadership Coach
McKenzie Management
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Motivation vs. Performance
By Elizabeth Brackin, PsyD

How do I motivate my employees? Why aren’t they willing to go the extra mile?

Do you believe that most people want to do a good job? If this is the case, then why do so many leaders struggle with employee motivation and performance? First, we must understand what “motivation” is before we can understand performance and how to motivate others to achieve peak performance.

Motivation is the combination of a person's desire and energy directed at achieving a goal. It is the cause of action. Influencing people's motivation means getting them to want to do what you know must be done. Motivation can be intrinsic, such as internal satisfaction and feelings of achievement; or extrinsic, such as recognition, compensation, and goal obtainment. Not all people are motivated by the same thing, and over time their motivations might change. Often an employee knows how to perform correctly, the process is good and all resources are available, but for one reason or another, chooses not to do so, which normally means it is a motivational issue. While many jobs have problems that are inherent to the position, it is the problems that are inherent to the person that normally cause us to lose focus from our main task of getting results. These motivational problems could arrive from family pressures, personality conflicts, a lack of understanding on how the behavior affects other people or processes, etc.

If an employee is motivated, what does he/she NEED to perform well? Performance is focused behavior or purposeful work (Rudman, 1998, p. 205). That is, jobs exist to achieve specific and defined results (outputs) and people are employed so organizations can achieve those results. This is performed by accomplishing tasks.

According to Rummler and Brache (1990) there are three levels in an Organization: 1) Organizational level, which is what you have already accomplished by starting your practice by developing the design and structure of the practice; 2) Process level, which is the process improvement and reengineering interventions of what is working and what needs tweaking; and 3) Job/Performer level, which is where more time and attention is required by most dentists, including coaching, performance management/feedback, and training interventions. 

While managing performance may seem less important than caring for patients, it is critical to a dental practice’s success. It serves the dual purpose of 1) arranging situations (environment) so employees can do their best by setting clear expectations and providing adequate resources, and 2) growing the employees by educating, properly training them, and providing feedback about their performance. Its purpose is to achieve specific and defined results from people so the dental practice can achieve its goals and objectives.

It is much easier to fix situations by making structural changes to the organization, rather than trying to fix or change people. These include items such as enlarging or expanding the job, improving a process, or opening lines of communication.

Once performance barriers have been removed, employees can be educated, trained and recognized for their efforts. This assumption is based on the premise that most employees try to do their best. They prefer harmony over conflict, action over inaction, and productivity over delays (Farson, Crichton, 1996).

When something breaks the psychological contract between the employee and the organization, the leader must find out what the exact problem is by looking beyond the symptoms, finding a solution, focusing on the problem, and then implementing a plan of action. One of the worst situations that a leader can get into is to get the facts wrong.

Start by collecting and documenting what the employee is not doing or should be doing, such as tasks, assignments, patient interaction, billing reports, etc. Try to observe the employee performing the task. Try to find out if it is a pattern or something new.

Once you know the problem, work with the employee to solve it. Keep it at the forefront of your mind that most employees want to do a good job. It is in your best interest to work with the employee, as long as the business needs are met and it is within the realm of organization to do so.

If you are struggling with how to motivate your team, contact me at ebrackin@mckenziemgmt.com. I will help you to create and sustain a highly motivated team who optimally performs. 

Dr. Brackin provides training for leadership effectiveness, interpersonal communication, conflict management, and team building. If you would like to learn more, contact her at ebrackin@mckenziemgmt.com

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