Motivation Theory


Motivation assures or enhances a strong commitment to achieve your project objectives.
Successful project management requires an establishment of an environment in which team members work together toward a common objective. For you to achieve this, you must know what motivates your team.
When team members are motivated, they willingly perform tasks for your projects.

Motivation is an energizing force that directs people towards a goal.

Underlying these energizing forces of motivation are drives, desires, and needs.

Reward and Punishment: The Carrot and the Stick

Many individuals are motivated because of a perceived reward (carrot) or punishment (stick). Money, a promotion, job satisfaction and recognition are types of rewards. Fear of losing your job, demotion, and public humiliation are types of punishment.

Rewards lose their effectiveness as motivators over time. If an individual is motivated by a reward and other people (thought to be less-deserving) receive similar rewards, the reward is viewed as an entitlement.

There is no doubt that fear of punishment is used to increase performance in the short run. In the long run, fear is a losing proposition because you suffer unnecessary stress and ultimately strive to escape fear and stress.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
In Maslow’s theory, five types of needs form a hierarchy. Please review this overview of Maslow’s model:

  1. Self Actualization (Pursue, Inner talent, Creativity, Fulfillment)
  2. Esteem needs (Achievement, Mastery, Recognition, Respect)
  3. Needs of Love, affection and belongingness (friends, family, spouse, lover)
  4. Security Needs (safety, stability, freedom from fear

Once basic needs of survival and security are met, individuals attempt to generate satisfaction and self-actualization.

Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory

The motivation-hygiene theory consists of dissatisfiers and satisifiers. Dissatisfiers occur when hygiene factors are absent. Hygiene factors maintain an individual. For example, air conditioning is a hygiene factor in a hot, stuffy office. Its presence does not generate motivation, but its absence is a dissatisfier.

A need for leadership exists because of a need to follow. Team members will follow you if they believe you can help satisfy their goals.
Leadership is an important competency for a project manager. The goal of a project manager is to instill a spirit of performance in a project team.
To succeed in leadership, emphasize employee strengths and neutralize weaknesses.

There are basically three types of leaders:

  1. Autocratic leaders.
    An autocratic leader uses authority and discipline without hesitancy. Known as a Theory X manager, this individual believes that project team members consider work distasteful and must be managed very closely.
  2. Participative leaders.
    Known as a Theory Y manager, a participative leader believes that work is a natural, fundamental human activity. This individual involves project team members to reach success.
  3. Situational leaders.
    This leader uses a situational approach (directing, coaching, delegating, and empowering) to great effectiveness.
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