Understanding Motivation The Supervisors Perspective

Management of people in the organization has come a long way since the industrial revolution or even earlier when workers and the rest of the components of the human capital were managed under stressful conditions such as force, slavery and compulsion. Organizational subordinates especially the labor work force toil and perform tasks not for compensation or contract purposes, but for obedience and compliance with the rule of masters and slave drivers.

The emancipation of the labor force and abolition of slavery during the 19th century, which started the trend of providing people with dignity and just compensation in the work place, brought into the open the need for attention, care and change in the perspectives on how people in the organization should be considered insofar as the factor of production are concerned.  Further, the enactment of workers rights and benefits shifted the way people are managed and key organizational decision makers started to bring people to the workplace through the motivational process. This development paved the way for lawmakers and human resource (HR) practitioners to elevate the roles of employees and the entire human resources component to a level of partners in the production processes. Here, the basis for driving people to become productive is through understanding and aligning human resource management with the motivational process as theorized by Maslow.

The most overworked work in the lexicon of the manager Motivation
Motivation is a critical component in the work of the manager.  Encouraging people to work individually and as a team is a demanding job for the manager as he is expected to deliver results through effective people management.  Here, the aspect of motivation is a never-ending process and the deeper and more entrenched motivation  provided subordinates, the stronger and more lasting the motivation drives people at work. Already, theories and principles on how people can be driven to their new levels of accomplishments have been propounded, but the hierarchy of needs seem to have the more inspiring impact on subordinates as they are able to align their personal needs to the organizational needs as well. Here, the manager is in a never-ending continuum of bringing organization results through people motivation.

The key to motivation The individual and the organization
The emerging approach to effective human resource management is based on the aspect of developing human competence and its sustainability in the organization. Clearly, motivating the human capital amounts to motivating the entire organization system towards accomplishing its established objectives.Here, while the organization aims to generate revenues and funds as it s own global need for sustainability, the human component is at the same time is able to address its own need that is, the compensation and fringe benefits aspect. The mutuality of purposes and objectives for the individual and organization becomes a congruent and complementary task for both.

Two researchers have suggested that sensitivity theory can be used to identify individual differences reflecting basic motivational needs.

While people have identical set of needs based on Maslows hierarchy, they have varying choices and sensitivities to specific items of motivation.  Thus, people can have different approaches to achieving identical needs. For example, tasks can be accomplished through compensation while other may be motivated in terms of peer pressure or simple feeling of a sense of accomplishment. Thus, individual differences may likely mean different measures, approaches or valuation systems based on common needs. Here, it would appear that people have common basic needs but individual differences dictate distinct means of satisfaction of that need,

How to motivate.
Learning how to motivate others starts from the capability to motivate oneself to achieve goals and objectives effectively. Here, the aspect of role modeling can be a strong motivational drive to inspire subordinates to accomplish tasks without intense force. Leadership is not only different from management. It is more than management as leadership strives to transform an individual to his best and the organization to its efficacy.

Learning to motivate starts with the understanding the persona of the subordinate and striving to get to know their individual differences towards aligning and making them congruent to the organizational needs. Here, the need to clarify the subordinates role in achieving organizational objectives and providing him the tool to competently accomplish them is of paramount importance to the motivation process.            

If there is any clear-cut task first line supervisors must deal with, it is motivating officers or civilians under their immediate supervision.

Military and police units are among the more interesting organizations where motivation is both a responsibility and a challenge. Considering that the strategy of motivation is a soft sell measure to achieve goals without the fear and force of compliance, installing an engine of motivation in a person is to assist him accomplish his goals based on mutual needs.  First line supervisors therefore, being new entrants to the realm of strategic management are expected to be fully trained in handling people through the motivational approach. Here, the concept of military type of discipline takes a back seat to a new type of command  the command of motivation.      


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