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Stop worrying about employee engagement; hire self-motivated people instead

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Carol Quinn

by on
in Centerpiece,Hiring,Human Resources

There’s a philosophy out there that you can motivate almost anyone to do their jobs. It suggests these people are like puppets or robots and we can get them do whatever we want. It implies we can motivate someone, as well as take away their motivation or de-motivate them.

Although this viewpoint is typically well-intended, it is counterproductive to greater success.

For starters, it does not foster greatness. Rather, it fuels a belief in personal powerlessness. It causes people to rely on others to do for them what they won’t do for themselves. It usually lacks consequence, and it rarely leads anyone to actualizing their full potential.

It also implies that people can have control over us. It’s the ultimate blame game: “I didn’t get good results because my boss inadequately motivated me, so it’s not my fault.” Just thinking about it makes me feel heavy with responsibility for other people’s success, or lik...(register to read more)

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Rob May 1, 2019 at 9:02 am

This is true 100%… managers are required to have good reviews and to get that depends on “engaging in motivated people.” Start focusing on hiring for performance instead of just filling a position and get rid of the un motivated.


CM April 12, 2019 at 11:18 am

An ineffective manager is someone that believes their role is to make employees happy; an effective manager is one that instills excellence in their employees which results in better production. I agree that hiring motivate candidates is important, but disagree that the manager can wash their hands of employee motivation towards goal achievement once they are hired.


MM April 8, 2019 at 11:33 am

I agree that managers should not be responsible for motivating employees and that companies should hire self-motivated employees. However, there are a landscape of companies that do not provide environments that warrant an employee to be remain motivated. Hopefully, these same employees were hired motivated. But somewhere along the line they lost their zeal.

There are so many variables to an unmotivated employee that employee engagement is always needed to some degree. I feel a great manager will know how to keep their employee engaged enough without micromanaging, where the employee is self-motivated, happy, and the company’s ambassador.


JB April 8, 2019 at 9:44 am

I love this article, as a recent manager of over 30 years, I constantly had this philosophy of “it was my job to motivate and make employees happy”, thrown in my face by employees and, altimately after 25 years, my boss!


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