Direction and Coordination

Elements of Direction – Motivation

An efficient manager is responsible for supervising, leading, and motivating employees using effective communication skills. This also helps him ensure that the employees work towards achieving the organization’s objectives. In this article, we will talk about motivation, its types, and usefulness in management.

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Motivating Employees

Motivation is derived from the word ‘motive’ which means need, drive, or want of an individual. Motivating employees means stimulating the employee to accomplish his/her goals along with the company goals.

Talk about goals, some psychological factors that stimulate people at work are the desire for money, success, recognition, job satisfaction, etc.

Motivating employees is an important function of the management which can help create willingness among the employees for optimum performance.

Therefore, a manager must arouse interest in the employee’s mind about his performance. Typically, the process of motivating people has three stages:

  • A need or drive
  • A stimulus which arouses the needs
  • Satisfaction or accomplishment of goals

Hence, motivation is a psychological phenomenon which managers use to tackle the needs and wants of their subordinates.

How is motivation useful in management?

At the roots, management is all about creating and maintaining a healthy environment where employees can perform to the best of their abilities.

Therefore, it is important that a manager, in order to get the best out of his team, understands what motivates each one of them. Also, most organizations have a motivational system in place to make the managerial process a success.

It is important to understand that an employee joins an organization to work as a member of a team. Unfortunately, not all employees are always willing to work to achieve the team’s objectives.

There are several factors which help determine the willingness to work. Hence, the management must ensure that certain factors are built into a system which induces people to work efficiently.

Also, a manager tries to create an environment where employees feel motivated and contribute to fulfilling the organization’s objectives.

motivating employees

(Source: Pixabay)

Psychological Motivation

In 1951, Dr. Wilder Penfield, a neurosurgeon from the McGill University discovered that our brain records not just the past events but also the feelings associated with them.

Also, the event and the feelings are locked together in the brain. Even after we fail to recall the event, the record stays in our memory. You can think of our brain as a tape recorder. If a person’s brain records a happy feeling, then a similar experience will always motivate him.

All the experiences that the brain records and the associated feelings are available for a reply today as vividly as if it was a recent event. Dr. Eric Berne devised a scientific method of studying human behaviour – Transaction Analysis or TA.

Transaction Analysis

Dr. Berne called transaction a unit of social interaction. So, when two or more people meet one another, sooner or later, one of them acknowledges the presence of the other.

This is a transactional stimulus. The other person responds to the stimulus in what is called a transactional response. Transactional Analysis is a way of examining such interactions. It helps to find out the reasons behind why people behave the way they do.

Ego States

The multiple natures of an individual and recorded in the brain are defined as ego states. Three common ego states are the parent, child, and adult.

motivating employees


A child observes his parent visually and aurally is recorded straight in his mind during the first five years of his life. Therefore, the brain records hostility with terror and love with pleasure.

This is the taught concept of life. Also, the person can replay these recordings throughout his life. Words like ‘work hard’, ‘done well’, ‘never do it again’, and actions like outstretched arms, hugging, foot tapping, rebuking, etc. reflect these recordings.


This is the recording of the response of the child to what he hears and sees. These recordings happen simultaneously with the recordings of the events described under ‘parent’ above. Since the child is small, clumsy, and dependent, most of his reactions are feelings.

Therefore, when someone is in the grip of feelings, he is usually said to be behaving like a child. Therefore, it is the felt concept of life. Words like ‘I wish’, ‘I want’, “I won’t do it again’, and actions like anger, being playful, tearful eyes, etc. reflect these recordings.


At the age of around 10 years, when the child can move, the recording of the adult also starts. This is the beginning of the adult stage. The important function of an adult is to examine the data in the parent’s recording as well as the child’s recording and test its validity in the present circumstances. Therefore, it is the thought concept of life.

Parallel and Crossed Transactions

Any social interaction is either parallel or crossed. The parent-parent, child-child, or adult-adult transactions are parallel. These are complementary in nature and can go on indefinitely.

On the other hand, the parent-child, child-parent, parent-adult, and adult-parent transactions are examples of crossed transactions.

motivating employees

Some examples of parallel and crossed transactions:

Type of transaction Stimulus Response
Parent-Parent “Support staff is indisciplined.” “It is a sign of the times.”
Adult-Adult “You have presented a good report.” “Thank You.”
Child-Child “I wish you were better educated.” “I am not so lucky.”
Adult-Parent “I have to finish the report tonight as it is due tomorrow.” “You always leave things to the last minutes.”
Parent-Child “You are always late.” “Sorry, Sir!”

Benefits of Transactional Analysis

This can give employees insights into their own personalities and also help them understand why others respond the way they do.

It improves interpersonal communication and allows employees to sense cross communication and restore it to complementary communication. It is also helpful in sales and other areas which depend on customer relations.

Solved Question on Motivating employees

Question: What are the three stages of the process of motivating employees?

Answer: The three stages of the process of motivation are the drive, a stimulus which arouses the need, and satisfaction on the accomplishment of goals.

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