Social Question

wundayatta's avatar

What is your philosophy about the best way to get other people to work their hardest?

Asked by wundayatta (58525points) August 7th, 2009

There are Several aspects to this question. One has to do with what you think the basic nature of humans is. Are they lazy or hardworking? Another has to do with whether you can trust people to do their jobs well, or if you have to constantly watch over them to make sure they are working and not making mistakes. Still another has to do with whether you think hard work is always associated with the highest level of productivity. Finally, I’d like to know what specific techniques you believe are necessary to get people to work their hardest and most productively.

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29 Answers

eponymoushipster's avatar

the beatings will continue until morale improves.

thrice2k3's avatar

IMO, the best technique is going to depend on the person(s) that you’re trying to motivate…

wundayatta's avatar

@thrice2k3 Could you provide examples of different types of workers and how you would motivate them differently? More importantly, what is the philosophy behind your ideas?

Quagmire's avatar

As a manager for many years, I find that the boss has to work harder then any of his staff to motivate them to work hard. When the boss does little, his staff WILL follow suit.

You don’t have to watch over your staff every minute, but you DO have to make a presence. People would rather talk then work, even if it means on the telephone. BOY, will people use the phone when the boss is not around! I don’t call this lazy. I just call this a normal preference to “not work”. It would be kinda stupid to work if you don’t have to.

And it’s easier for me to tell you what to do to UNmotivate people. Be unfair, treat them like dirt, blame them for your mistakes and publicly reprimand. Never fails.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

no one likes someone who sits around and tells everyone what to do.

bust your own ass first, help others when they ask, and only demand from them what you put in yourself.

cwilbur's avatar

You figure out what they want and find ways to make their goals align with work goals. People are hardworking when they think they’ll get something out of it.

If they’re motivated by money, you tie their performance to their bonus.

If they’re motivated by public praise, you make sure to mention their good work as often as possible in public.

If they’re motivated by solving difficult problems, you give them difficult problems to do.

I don’t think that working hard and working productively are synonymous; I’ve seen people who are always frantically busy who never get anything done, and I’ve seen people who are laid back and always apparently on break who get more done before noon on Monday than other people get done all week. A good deal of the time, it’s not so critical to do a lot of things as it is to do the one right thing; some people manage to do that by doing a lot of things and hoping one of them is right, and other people manage to wait until they know what that one right thing is, and then do it.

Nially_Bob's avatar

Discover what it is that each person works for and emphasise it while providing a comfortable yet focused environment with which this emphasis can easily translate into work. Although I have no experience with management I believe that this system would function correctly based upon the innately selfish nature that, in my opinion, humans possess.

Supacase's avatar

The biggest motivator is having a boss who sets a good example. Nothing irritated me more than working my ass off for a man who left whenever he wanted to go fishing or take naps at home and left me to do his work without giving me the credit.

Other than that, acknowledgment and appreciation are key. No one likes to think their work is unnoticed or trivial.

Some people will see how much they can slack off and still get by while others consistently put their noses to the grindstone. I think it comes down to respecting yourself and others, personal responsibility, and taking pride in knowing you have done your best.

Harp's avatar

I find that most people try to live up to high esteem. I mean that if I project full confidence that they are both capable of and willing to work to high standards, then they will go to out of their way to prove that my esteem is justified. In my experience, this works much better than the opposite approach of projecting low expectations and hoping that the worker will try to prove you wrong.

This philosophy comes from observing how I respond to messages of esteem from my supervisors. When I know that my superior has confidence that I’ll come through, I’ll try to exceed even those expectations.

standardtoaster's avatar

make sure they’re interested in what they’re doing

Judi's avatar

People do what you inspect not what yow expect.

CMaz's avatar

I buy Pizza for my employees now and then. A free lunch does wonders.

I respect them, I always, good or bad start out by seeing the good they did and the effort they made.

We all have bad days. And, as long as it is never personal, it is just business.
You will eventually weed out the ones that just do not get it.

My employees would kill for me.

“Nothing irritated me more than working my ass off for a man who left whenever he wanted to go fishing or take naps at home and left me to do his work without giving me the credit.”

Is it not being given the credit that is the problem?

I have done all the above, because as the boss I can. Your job is to work your ass off.
Do I give my employees credit? Dam skippy!! Because when they do a good job it reflect back to me too. Pizza anyone?

wundayatta's avatar

@Judi Why do you believe that? Do you have any personal experiences that lead you to believe that?

PerryDolia's avatar

You don’t “get people to work their hardest.” People work hard when the job is worth doing, their skills are well matched to the task, and the are recognized for their contributions.

The most common errors in industry related to getting people to work hard is the question of the carrot or the stick. Reward the hard work or punish the slackers?

The answer to this question is NEITHER. Your job as a manager is to SUPPORT them. Give them everything they need to do good work: take away distractions and interruptions, give them quiet time to concentrate, give them good equipment, give them constant information about how their work fits with the whole organization, and reward them as a team not as individuals.

When you believe they want to do good work, and take away the barriers, they will shine.

dpworkin's avatar

Management has been a topic for study at least since the 6th Century BCE when Sun Tzu wrote “The Art of War”. It is an entire academic discipline unto itself. Take the years to obtain a Masters in Business Administration, and you may learn some portion of the great body of sophisticated knowledge of management and management techniques.

The mere technical aspects cannot be suitably summarized in just a few paragraphs on Fluther, let alone the nearly unmanageable (pun intended) mass of moral and ethical issues this question raises.

cbloom8's avatar

Human nature is simply to survive; therefore, if one is lazy or hard working depends on what they think needs to be done survive and be happy.

Some people need close supervision and some are very self-motivated; that distinction lies with the individual and isn’t a broad truth.

Productivity and hard work are two different things; productivity deals with efficiency while hard work deals with the speed and dedication has towards one’s work. You can be productive without working hard and vice versa.

The best way to get people to work is to give them reason to work at the level you want. Setting deadlines that you think are necessary or that you think your employees can handle (you need to understand your employees) is key. You want them to do a certain level of work, and they want a job. If they want their jobs, they will work to the level you feel satisfactory, and if not, they will lose their jobs.

Finally: It is and always will be their choice to work how they do. However, if their standards do not meet yours, they have failed your simply trade relationship: they want something and you want something, yet they do not live up to their end of the bargain, and they will soon understand the consequences.

LostInParadise's avatar

I think it is important to get people connected to whatever project they are working on. The workers should understand in general terms what the project is supposed to do and how their effort ties in to that of the other team members. People should be encouraged to get together informally to discuss problems and offer solutions. And people should be given recognition for what they have done.

Judi's avatar

@daloon Yes I do. Both from an employee perspective and an employer perspective. In my business (apartments) we do weekly reports. They detail mostly occupancy, vacant apartments and traffic. There is also back up documentation. I found it really hard (as an employee) to worry to much about accuracy of these reports the first couple of times I had made a mistake or two and I caught it when preparing the next weeks reports but no one else caught it higher up. I caught on real fast that no one else was really paying attention. The temptation was to just make up the information (like traffic reports) instead of actually tracking the information.
As the employer now, I regularly question the information and ask for back-up. I have noticed that it is sometimes harder to train people with more experience because they are used to no one actually questioning or inspecting their work.
If no one cares enough to really look at the nuts and bolts of what a person is doing why should they bother putting more effort into it than the absolute minimum?

erniefernandez's avatar

Make the employees partial owners of the business. Productivity will soar.

Zendo's avatar

Lead by example and make the job fun.

cak's avatar

One thing I learned, do not – whatever your natural tendencies are, micromanage. I am a huge control freak and had to learn to let go. Other things I found were helpful, say exactly what you mean, put things in a clear and concise format and do progress updates. Give people room to do their work; however, small deadlines for certain steps are always a good way to keep people on track.

Dealing with large auto manufacturers, I had weekly progress report calls with Honda, Lexus and Mercedes. I found their way of managing their employees to be incredibly efficient and also very motivating. I started using some of their methods and noticed that my team stayed on track and finished projects on time, better than any other team had before I managed them. I can’t take full credit for that, I had a great team of people and also found a good way of working with people.

Also, I think to a point, sometimes we make the mistake of becoming friends with employees and that can cloud the relationship. I was taught, early on, be professional – be friendly and yes, participate, but keep a distance. You don’t wind up with a bunch of unhappy people and the “she’s your favorite” attitude.

Positive motivation and offering to help an employee, when you know they need that lifeline. You are never too high up to help another employee.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I find out what makes them proud and what their wants and needs are, the rest is figuring out how to deliver if they perform.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I will give 100% to a boss who is not afraid to jump in and get his hands dirty. A boss that stands on the sidelines, chomping a cigar with his hands on his hips is only going to get as much work as I can get away with not doing.

derekpaperscissors's avatar

Threaten their love ones.
But really, just make it appear that they are the ones that will benefit from this work. Make it seem like you’re offering them a good deal and they will benefit from this.

Strauss's avatar

Think incentive. What makes a person perform? What will make that person take the pride in what they do in order to do their best? What will a person to be an active part of the team? Provide each person with access to the appropriate “tools” (i.e., techniques and knowledge based)/

master_mind413's avatar

people wont work if there is nothing for them to work for, some people just dont care about anything and will do nothing but collect a pay check it is what most of society is now built to do one reason why the united states will always end in failure as long as we reward those who work the least and punish those who work the hardest once that happens there is nothing left to work for and you got California !

MarkyMark's avatar

You need to be completely honest with them and with yourself. If you are a manager you need to foster an honest relationship with staff where everyone understands and acknowledges that: You need them and they need you. You need to trust them and they need to trust you. Don’t violate their trust by telling lies and breaking promises and don’t accept them violating that trust. Give them specific responsibilities – hold them accountable for a specific task/ section/ duty/ responsibility. People take pride in their work when they know its their personal responsibility and that they are going to have to answer for it. (You have to be specific and it cannot be “everybody’s responsibility”. If a specific task is “everybody’s responsibility” then they’ll expect someone else to do it and develop a “who cares” attitude .) Set goals and targets and reward them well if they achieve it/ deliver the goods.

ItsAHabit's avatar

People need honest recognition and appreciation for their work. To some degree, it’s actually more motivating that financial incentives. And it doesn’t cost anything to give.

MrGuru's avatar

To properly motivate people you must find what makes them tick, what there goals and ambitions are so that you can properly motivate them. Some, people are only motivated by money other’s have ambition’s to be great while still other’s are simply wanting to be a part of something great or a family. When you can find what they want or need you can properly motivate them in a positive and long lasting way.


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