*As long as everything lines up perfectly and everyone is motivated in the right ways
How do we get people to actually do what we are paying them to do? This is a question that all managers ask themselves eventually. Whether it’s getting people to work overtime or just come to work in the first place. Geeks can be some of the hardest people to get motivated.There seem to be two extremes in the world of motivating employees. On one side of things you have the people who are very emotional. On the other side, you have people who are more stoic or unemotional. Most people are probably in the middle but it’s clear that geeks are on the unemotional side of things and most sales people and managers are on the emotional side of things. Unfortunately for both geeks and managers, managers tend to try and get geeks motivated through emotional means but really what they need is exactly the opposite.
Motivational videos, posters, or speeches are great ways to get the emotional side of the population up, working, and ready for the day. Most geeks think all that stuff is stupid. If you tried to do that to them, they would roll their eyes and move on. It would likely stop them from wanting to do work in general. After doing some research, I discovered some motivational videos for geeks. Man, they are bad. Being a geek myself, I could barely stand them.
Anyway, back to the topic at hand. If you really want to motivate a geek, I have two tricks from the book The Geek Leader’s Handbook and my life in general. The one, most important thing that I’ve discovered in my life that could change the way a manager thinks about their workers is that geeks love a good challenge. I believe that one of the reasons why I enjoy programming so much is that it’s all real problem solving. On the other hand, the reason why I dislike writing so much is that writing is really just making stuff up to fill a quota. The only times I’ve actually learned anything from a writing class were the times when I did a research paper. That gave me an excuse to go out and learn things about subjects that I like. Though really the writing part of the research paper didn’t help me. It was kind of a waste of time. That’s enough of my problems, back to talking about geeks. The best way in my mind to motivate a geek is to try to never give them busy work. If it is busy work, give them busy work tat they are at least interested in. For instance, I don’t know a lot about networking so if someone offered to teach me about networking and have me do the busy work in the mean time, I’d be glad to do it. Because it would expand my knowledge. Of course eventually it would become boring but for the time it would be a good exercise that I’d be motivated to do.
A second thing that the book talks about that I agree with is that food is a great motivator. Though this should only be used in special cases. If you are trying to get a geek to go do something for you that they don’t want to do, don’t just hand them a slice of pizza and tell them to get to it. They won’t like it. Food is a good way to rejuvenate geeks. If they are getting tired after a long day, food is a great way to get them back up and working. Just try not to make them feel like this. In the end, these two tips I believe are the best of the best. If a manager only knows these two things, it could go a long way.