Marta Fabiánová for Profi HR: How Leaders (Un)motivate Us

15. 04. 2024

Marta Fabiánová, Managing Director of TCC online, has written an article on leadership and motivation for the April issue of Profi HR. This piece is now also available on our blog. Enjoy reading her insights.

When asked whether their perception of leaders or their satisfaction with working hours is more important to them, people do not hesitate to respond. Generally, individuals tend to prioritize tangible factors like pay or working hours. However, issues related to professional development, especially concerning top management, often fall to the bottom of their list.

Despite this, data consistently shows that subconscious perceptions of leaders play a significant role. Individuals who view their leaders positively tend to be more loyal and motivated. This underscores the importance of leaders focusing on how they are perceived and experienced throughout the organization.

Research indicates that companies fare better when their leaders engage in active and authentic communication, hold regular gatherings such as all-hands meetings, and clearly outline objectives and the means to achieve them.

In contrast, leaders who remain distant and aloof, secluded in their ivory towers, and communicating through occasional speeches or annual reports, likely miss vital opportunities to strengthen organizational culture, loyalty, and engagement.

From the Top Floor to the Shop Floor: Where is Middle Management?

Employees often see their immediate supervisors as being “in the thick of it”. Surveys consistently show that employees value their immediate supervisors more than upper management members.

This discrepancy can indicate issues in communication and collaboration between top and middle management. When line managers become seen as adversaries rather than as extensions of the management team, it signals a problem.

If surveys reveal significant disparities, or if line managers appear less content than other employees, it’s a call to action. The primary challenge then becomes building trust and effective collaboration across different management levels. Without motivated managers, motivating the broader workforce becomes a formidable challenge.

Shared vs. Individual Motivation

While the roles of leaders and managers may evolve, the best are consistently equipped with not only a results-oriented approach but also skills that include the ability to inspire, engage others in solutions, facilitate discussions, and recognize contributions–beyond mere performance to include mindset, values, and attitudes. A great leader knows how to provide encouragement precisely when things are tough.

Research tells us that people are generally motivated by credible, trustworthy leaders who provide a clear vision and lead by example as part of the team. However, individual motivations that vary over time are also crucial, and managers need to adapt to these changes. Regular meetings or assessments, like the Career Compass, can be useful tools to help identify what motivates an individual and what might not.

The demands on leaders are considerable, and rightfully so, as they are trusted to steer the organization. Fortunately, the skills required to effectively communicate the organization’s direction, unify the team, and lead by example are not costly. Yet, they create a significant competitive edge.

Need some advice?

Pavla Kaňková

+420 771 297 711


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