The first problem that a manager has to tackle on his assignment is of motivation of his colleagues. It is difficult to fathom that what he faces is an everyday experience particularly in Indian conditions. The manager finds that most of his colleagues are victims of savage cynicism and are all willing to blast the management for this or that lacuna in the organisation. Blaming the management, thus, becomes an integral part of the social life within the organisation in countless places. Employees sit together for lunch or coffee and criticise the management for this or that failure or this or that lacuna. To counter that cynical anti-propaganda is not possible for any manager in the world. So, he chooses to keep quiet, and do nothing proactively to counter the negative elements within the organisations. And because he keeps quiet, more loose talk is added to the gossip in the organisation.
When Avdhesh Kumar took over as manager of the packaging section of the company, he realised that most colleagues, over a hundred of them, were seen often engaged in loose talk against the management. However, he did mark a young woman executive who refused to join the loose talk and kept to herself avoiding the gossip sessions. Her motivation levels were high and she exuded sort of confidence that was rare to come across. The quality of work was really good and she was known not to let her focus waver.
So focused was that woman that her work became a talk of the town in the company. She was referred to as a work-machine that did not have emotion.
Intrigued by this, Avdhesh Kumar once called the woman over for a coffee. At that open-ended session, the woman revealed to her boss that because she faced many personal difficulties, she had to stay focused so that she made appropriate progress in the career and carried home enough money to feed a large family in which was the only bread-winner. “My motivation comes from my need. Otherwise also, I realise that loose talk is something I am not made for. I must stay focused on work and I enjoy that a lot. That gives me a sense of fulfilment,” the woman told Avdhesh Kumar.
The explanation appeared simple, but it also has a seed of good behaviour of an employee. It is found that most employees enter comfort zones in a few months as they settle down in their respective jobs and learn to adjust well with the surrounding people and conditions. Once their basic requirement of a decent salaried income is taken care of, most tend to take things for granted. In such a situation, all they have is an easy routine in which there is enough spare time. When the general atmosphere is full of loose talk, it is nearly impossible for individual employees to keep away from the popular mood and mode.
This is one condition that kills self-motivation to a great extent. The individual employee often finds surrounded by certain negativism that acts as a drag on the feet.
The manager can respond to this challenge by creating systems in which good work is suitably rewarded and the individual employees who avoid loose talk get better opportunities. This is not an easy task, however. The HR people need to be vigilant all the time so that they spot the right people and recommend for right rewards for good work. It is easy to blame the employees for their indulgences, but what is more critical is to create systems in which loose talkers get punished and motivated employees suitably rewarded. This is not impossible, provided the managers are suitably motivated themselves.