Two years in the field and I have already learnt a thing or two….so far what has struck me the most is the need for motivation at the work place. I have realized I need a lot of inspiration myself to make it through a mere 5 days of the work week, imagine how much of that is required for a month, 5 months or an entire year! And no, I don’t dislike work and I enjoy what I do but like a car needs refueling every now and then, so does a human being need motivation to work well.
Watching the workers at the construction site for the last 11.5 months has taught and helped me appreciate the different needs of the common person with regard to the working environment and the need for constant motivation is one of those.
From a “growing” manager’s point of view, recognizing, appreciating and addressing people’s needs and requirements helps ‘me’*well, when I get to top management level* plan how best to boost their morale. Motivation does not have to be simply monetary,,,as is common belief; a simple “thank you” or “well done” does go a long way.
Paying attention when someone has something to say, and giving them some sort of feedback, even if it is not as helpful as they would have wanted it to be, makes the person feel important and appreciated. Asking them how they are, and even going a bit further to find out how home is and generally showing and taking an interest in their lives not necessarily sticking to work issues makes them feel like “people” and not mere workers.
All work and no play……….we all know how that ends. Allowing people to enjoy their freedom and not “slave driving” them not only fosters a harmonious working environment but also increases productivity. I have seen it here. Play / rest time, is exactly that and work time, sometimes I wonder if they are operating on batteries! I remember, a few weeks ago, after Uganda’s big win at the Olympics (Kiprotich’s gold), it was the talk of the town, everywhere; here too! One lunch time, the masons and porters lined up and had a race of their own; it must have been a bet of sorts. Well at first I panicked because I had no idea what the commotion outside the office was about but when I looked out and saw what was happening, I couldn’t hold back my smile! It was good seeing them that happy, at the work place.
Addressing people’s grievances is one of the leading ways of motivating people. Still, I have seen it here. If somebody has a problem, listen and act and with absolute fairness. Say a mason requests his superiors for safety wear, like boots, and they (the superiors) don’t see it fit or important that he should have a pair; there’s a very good chance that this guy is not going to work as well and efficiently as he would have if he had been listened to and helped. He will be de-motivated, demoralized, discouraged, to say the least.
Of course the most common way of motivating people is paying them well. If they’ve earned it then give it to them and where they deserve it, bonuses are a plus. One of the greatest feelings in life is being fairly rewarded for a job well done. Everybody loves that.