One situation that comes to mind where motivation positively influenced an employee’s performance was when as a manager I was getting ready to go out on maternity leave. I began selecting an employee who could fill the spot in my absence. This process involved shaping this employee and priming her in order to motivate her to take on the task and succeed at it. The first task in stimulating this motivation was to identify the drive of the employee. Newstrom (2015) speaks extensively to the importance of this identification in motivation stating “Motivation also requires discovering and understanding employee drives and needs, since it originates within an individual” (p.116), “A manager’s job is to identify employees’ drives and needs and to channel their behavior toward task performance” (p.117), and “They can then deal with employees differently according to the strongest motivational drive that they identify in each employee” (p. 120). The employee exhibited tendencies toward achievement motivation. As Yilmaz and Kaygin state “Achievement motivation is…’the tendency to strive for success or the attainment of a desirable goal’” (p.2).
In knowing this I was then able to steer my motivaters to align with this drive. One of the first important factors was providing consistent and positive feedback. As Newstrom (2015) states “…Performance feedback leads to both improved performance and improved attitudes …” (p. 157). Once the foundation was laid, the employee was then told the plan, at that point mutual and clear goals were set in order to facilitate her transition into this new role. As each milestone of learning new tasks, building on her foundation of facility knowledge, and improvement in interpersonal interactions was attained, the employee gained confidence and was ready to meet her next challenge. “Meeting goals also help satisfy a person’s achievement drive, contributes to feelings of competence and self-esteem, and further stimulates personal growth needs” (Newstrom, 2015, p. 129). Locke and Schattke (2018) reiterate this in stating [achievement motivation] …is not the doing or enjoyment of the activity as such but doing well and/or doing better than before, in other words improvement” (p. 4). In the end, the employee was fully ready and confident in taking over this role and was able to become a role model for other staff. She continued to be a role model even upon my return and in such motivated other staff members to take on challenges and improve their performance. Eventually she was also able to move to a different unit that brought new challenges and rewards.