Understanding Employee Motivation and Applying Theory to the Workplace

Below is the introduction to an article that I co-authored and was recently published in the SACRAO (Southern Association of College Registrars and Admissions Officers) journal. Understanding our team members and their motivations not just for working hard, but also for working well, are key to maximizing productivity and having a well-run office.  This is regardless of whether you have 1 team member or much larger numbers to manage.  You can view the full article at https://www.drconnieshipman.com.


Being chosen for a leadership position is only the beginning of becoming a leader. To
become more than “the boss” people follow because they are required to do so — or to
become someone employees will want to follow at all — leaders must master the ability
to invest in people and inspire those around them. Simultaneously, in order to succeed
in a leadership role, one must build a team that consistently produces measurable
results. There are multiple paths to explore along the journey to reaching the “pinnacle”
of leadership (Maxwell, 1999), where your influence extends beyond the people who
are in your immediate sphere. During the journey, you are not only learning how to lead
people and encourage their professional development, you should also be engaging
in self-reflection on your leadership and communication styles. Time may feel like a
limited resource, but being more purposeful about understanding employee motivation
and “crucial conversations” (Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, & Switzler, 2012) will help you
lead an efficient and motivated team and ultimately make everyone more satisfied with
their work.

This article is based on a presentation by the authors at the American Association
of College Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) conference in April 2017.
During the presentation, we explored levels and sources of leadership, promoters and
deterrents to motivation, and the importance of proper communication as it pertains to
development of people and teams. Points were infused with examples of challenges
and triumphs throughout our careers to date, as well as best practices used to motivate
individuals across small and large teams. For purposes of this paper, we have created
two scenarios we believe will be relatable, reviewed the information presented in
the AACRAO session, and discussed how that information can be applied in these

#leadership    #motivation     #teams     #employees