Pride in ManagementFeeling good about day-to-day accomplishments is a strong source of motivation that influences behaviors. Unfortunately, a lot of most people’s daily work can be pretty boring, if not downright tedious and stressful, so “feeling good” about it is not as easy as it sounds. Moreover, those positive feelings come mostly from the informal organization. One of the strongest positive emotional drivers is pride. Kids work harder in school for the teacher who makes them feel proud of getting a good grade or developing a new skill. Multimillionaire athletes stretch themselves to the limit for the pride of winning the championship— but also take pride in the rigorous training it requires. Pride in the journey can be as motivating as pride in the destination. Refinery workers will take extra care in their work for the pride of a clean safety record, or more simply the good feeling of helping a colleague avoid an injury. Yet most motivational programs focus entirely on the formal rewards: money, perks, and promotions. Our research and experience show that how people feel about their work, and the pride they take in their daily or weekly accomplishments can be a powerful motivator of their daily behavior. These topics are covered when studying the Diploma of Leadership and Management - course details here. In research for Why Pride Matters More Than Money, and in work with clients afterwards, Katz developed the following insights about pride as a motivational force. (Katzenbach & Khan 2010)
What matters is how people feelPride is at the heart of what motivates peak performers in most human endeavours. This is evident in art, music, athletics, medicine, or popular entertainment. What motivated George Carlin to toil for many decades in comedy clubs was not the money or the recognition— it was the work itself, including the relentless preparation that characterized his appearances. What motivated Lance Armstrong to push himself to seven Tour de France victories was not the glory but the personal highs of training hard year in and year out. Us humans have a need to feel good about what we do and how we do it. (Katzenbach & Khan 2010) People want to be proud of the work they do and boast about it to others. It is that self-aggrandizing seldom motivates work that is in the long-term interest of the company. Of course, many people take pride in material things like yachts, mansions, and designer fashion. Companies that rely too much on monetary and material rewards for motivation invariably lose their best people to the highest bidders. Pride, unfortunately, can motivate good and bad outcomes. A classic example of this was reported recently in Bob Sutton’s blog “Work Matters.” It was from a piece of research Gary Latham conducted in a large sawmill where employees were stealing about $1 million in equipment every year. Because of the strong union it was virtually impossible to impose discipline on the offenders. However, Latham’s research determined that much of what was being stolen was actually things the workers neither needed nor used; they were doing it for the thrill of it and to brag to their buddies, which they took great pride in doing. (Katzenbach & Khan 2010)
Good pride in managementYou will find a lot of good pride in management and understandably so. Employees want to take pride in their work with positive performance outcomes. They want to feel that the work they are doing is making a difference and they are proud of what they have produced. The leader who can align and connect the good pride people take in their work is more likely to achieve their targets. There are several ways to help employees realise this good pride in them to motivate them.
- Show them how their work impacts the organisation and how they are helping their customers. When people are able to visualise and see who their efforts are helping they are more likely to be more motivated.
- Show them how their efforts can lead to other opportunities such as a pay rise, a recognition award, or even a promotion! No one wants to stay in their role forever, except those who really love their jobs. Employees are always looking for the opportunity to advance their careers and by showing them how their efforts can pay off, they are more likely to be more motivated.