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There are two types of employees and you should adapt your motivation strategies to them

Ted Blackwater ▼ | September 9, 2019
How to motivate your employees? There is a question that comes to every manager's mind. A little insight shows that it's not as hard as it looks.
Types of employees
Motivation   There are two types of employees
If you are asked how to motivate your people, there will be two types of answers in most cases.

First is "They are paid for what they do, that's enough." Another is, "Well, that's a complex question."

Both of those answers are right to some extent but the situation with humans are not so black and white.

Money is just one factor in determining is someone happy on the job. There are working conditions, possibilities of promotion, relations with colleagues, the state of the market, internal working procedures, personal issues we may not see. So, this is, a human mind is, a complex thing indeed.

Now, while at complex, how do we solve a complex problem?

The best way is to break it down into smaller problems that are easier to solve. That is true for employee motivation as well.

However, instead of solving what may seem like an endless number of working and psychological issues, we are proposing you another way and when you think about it you'll see that it works.

It is known for centuries, and sometimes we tend to forget it, that all people, be it employees or students or colleagues, can be divided into two groups regarding their motivation to learn and thrive.

Think about children. How to motivate them to do their chores and how to lift them when they go down? It turns out that there are two types of kids and that behavior continues in their lives so we have two types of employees too.

The first group needs punishment of some kind to improve. When an employee of yours make an error, ruin the production, send the company into a money loss, they will improve after some kind of disciplinary action.

You can cut their salary, order them to cover the loss, cut their free day, send them to some seminar, impose any other action, and they will improve. Why? Because that group of people thinks like "I'm not that bad! I will prove that I can be good and that I can do that!"

For them, a punishment, be it hard words or pay cut, is what motivates them to be better and to avoid the same mistake in the future. They may go so far to be among the best people in your company. All the way thinking "I will show you how good I can be!"

It's not about them trying to avoid new disciplinary measures or maybe companies rumor about them, no, their main thought is "Who says I can't? I can!" And that thought will guide them.

Another group is the opposite. If you punish them in some way, they will give up. Why? Because they need positive words. They are guided by the principle "I'm told I'm not good. OK, I will find something else to do."

And that makes sense. It's easy to understand them. Why would someone try to do something if there are no good results? It's better to find something you are good at and work on that.

Unfortunately, that's not how life works so sometimes that group of people must do what they are not good at. In that case, you can help them very easily, with nice words.

"OK, that was very bad. You'll be good next time." Believe us, that sentence does magic. And you should stay calm with them and use that sentence no matter how big and costly their mistake is.

Those people feel a combination of shame and relief that does all the magic. They feel shame because they know very well that they messed up. And they feel relief because you are were not yelling at them.

That combination of feelings will result in them being better than you can ever imagine. For them, "You must make no mistake" is a killing sentence, and "OK, you'll be better" is the best motivation you can offer.

How can you spot them?

Aside from experience, when you criticize somebody and they just shrug their shoulders, that's a big sign you are talking with "I need a soft approach" person.

Why are we talking so much about that second group of people?

Because there are a lot them out there, a lot more than you think. If someone makes more than one mistake, don't fall into a trap thinking "That person is not capable of doing anything, we must fire them." Maybe you just need the right motivation that will give you in return a great worker.