To be or Not to be Motivated

Two days back we were conducting a program on ‘Motivation and Team building’ for group of first line officers of an electronic component manufacturing company.

After inauguration of the course, with top managers still there to monitor, I asked the participants a simple question, ‘How many of you are motivated at work?’ In a second all hands shot up in the air as if it were a reflex action. I just couldn’t believe this. It was simply too good to be true. The next question naturally followed, “Why then do you think management selected you to attend a course on motivation and team building?”  Answers varied but the one that struck me most was ‘You have come to teach us how to be motivated. So we are in to listen to the tricks of being more motivated.’

Oh my God! ‘Teach’ motivation; ‘Tricks of being more motivated;’ did I hear correctly?

The top managers left the training hall happy with the belief — the training has taken off well and was ‘interactive’. This was all they wanted to monitor.  

Long after the ice was broken and transformed into flowing water I put the question again, “How many of you are really motivated at work?” This time there was no show of hands.

Surprised, I queried, ‘What happened?’

Then one by one they opened up:

“To tell the truth, I just don’t feel like leaving my bed to come to office.”

“I have been working here for the past 16 years. None ever appreciated me or my work.”

“I think I am stuck with a stupid job. My bosses don’t believe that I am capable of doing something much better.”

“The pay I get is insufficient to take care of my child’s education in good schools’

And it went on and on….

‘So why did you say that you all were very motivated?’

‘We just pretended because the bosses were around. We told them what they would like to hear. Otherwise they would take it out on us during performance appraisal review.’

Are bosses/managers/leaders listening?

Can anyone remain motivated in an environment of fear or in an environment that sucks?


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