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Workplace Motivation

The most important aspect of good management?

Workplace motivation may be a complex, frustrating issue, but unless it is understood, and managed effectively, few organisations will flourish.

Some writers think that most employees are naturally pre-disposed to enthusiasm for their work, demonstrating an inherent preference for engagement and achievement.

Ironically, it can be managers themselves who dampen this ardour, through either poor management or a lack of understanding of what workplace motivation is all about.

Two quotes make this point rather succinctly:

“Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their jobs done.” (Peter Drucker).

“… the key question is not how to motivate employees, but how to sustain – and prevent management from destroying – the motivation that employees naturally bring to their jobs.” (David Sirota, et al).

Workplace motivation

This page contains some insights into the value of storytelling to encourage workplace motivation. Below you’ll find a link to a video clip of Professor Jay Conger demonstrating this point vividly.

Jay Conger is the Henry R. Kravis Research Chair in Leadership Studies, at Claremont McKenna College. He’s a world-renowned academic, author and consultant on business leadership. Conger is also an advocate of the power and effectiveness of story telling as a management tool:

“Stories have enormous power in terms of recall. If you look at statistics, or at PowerPoint, or at documents, what you discover from all the research is that there is almost no recall. What will be remembered are a few compelling stories that you share with your organization and with your team. And those will guide them when they are far away from you – which, by the way, is much of the day.”— Professor Jay Conger

Strategic Stories for workplace motivation

  • Stories which have a strategic point can be powerful management tools.
  • They are far more effectively recalled than other presentational tools or methods.
  • Well-told stories can be remembered and used to inform and inspire staff, when they are working alone.

Now follow this link and watch Conger himself bring the power of stories to life in: The Impact of Strategic Storytelling. When you’ve done, think about this summary of his main points. Then see if you can use the power of stories to enhance your workplace motivation.

How to craft a good strategic story

  • Professor Jay CongerKeep it short – no more then 1.5 – 2.5 minutes.
  • Don’t include more than 2- 3 characters.
  • Keep it simple – based on a single message.
  • Tell it in the present tense – as if it’s happening now.
  • Use visual imagery tied to the theme – people remember mental pictures.
  • Repeat a phrase or word as the essence of the message.

More suggestions for workplace motivation

For more ideas on using storytelling take a look at our Leadership Stories. Leadership quotes and stories are a great resource whether you use them just for your own benefit or with your team, to support meetings or presentations.

If you’re interested in developing your leadership skills, go to our Leadership page. This contains a range of articles, tips and resource links which compliments this collection of quotes.

Or turn to our handy e-guide: Leading Insights, packed with more leadership quotes, stories and some leading insights into how they can be used! Insights such as:

Workplace motivation bundle and leading insights!

  • Uncommon insights
  • Tipping point leadership
  • Find the glass
  • Leaders need to be cathedral thinkers
  • Would you recommend your service/organisation to your friends?
  • Putting on a performance
  • Would people pay to see your team perform?
  • Bricolage leadership
  • Resourceful leadership
  • Nudging leadership
  • Mirror leadership
  • Chameleon leadership
  • Catalyst leadership
  • Chrysalis leadership
  • Saliency, sagacity and serendipity
  • Infectious leadership
  • Infected leadership
  • Great work days
  • Defining moments
  • Conveying what you care about
  • The kind of goals leaders set matters
  • Motivating leaders

Where to go from here:


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