Motivation is not one of my strong suites. It takes very specific things to motivate me, and I have found that I do not really understand what motivates others. For example, I used to think that money motivates me. If someone paid me for my work, I was motivated to do a good job. I have since realized that I wasn’t motivated by money, I was motivated because I feared to let them down. Money wasn’t a prize, it was a threat. Do well, and you will get paid, do poorly and the payment will go away. Are you confused yet? Me too, let’s look more closely at motivation.
According to an article from TechBeacon, different people are motivated differently (duh), but Software Engineers often share similar motivations. Some of their suggestions to motivate software engineers could probably apply to everyone–like “listen…recognition…flexible work hours.” Other pieces of advice apply more directly to software engineers, such as “use new technology” and “training”. I think these two together could be a very powerful motivator. Like most geeks, I enjoy learning new things, especially when they are new technologies that make my job easier. This is a great idea because, in the long run, it can make your team more efficient and more motivated.
This video, formerly titled “The Greatest Historical Motivational Speech Ever,” is an excellent example of how to motivate people. Notice, the war paint and fist pumping. Many people, enjoy this type of motivation, including the dreaded salesmen/saleswomen; however, geeks are not often motivated that way. In my experience shouting “FREEEEEEEDDDDOOOOOOOOMMMMMM!!!” usually motivates anyone who can hear. One thing I drew from this masterful speech was the way in which William Wallace used the commandeer of the men to motivate them. They didn’t come to fight for the Lairds of Scotland, they came to fight for their country and their brothers! In the same way, software development teams rarely work for their manager, they work for each other. The reasons why a team-centered organization would be better are numerous, but this article does a good job of covering many of them.
Someone who is an expert on people and what motivates them is Greenville University’s very own Professor Jane Bell. Prof. Bell teaches most of the business management classes and was instrumental in helping me understand my motivations. I have worked at a few companies with varying degrees of motivation. One organization I continue to return to is Camp of Champions USA. For some reason, I keep working there summer after summer. It isn’t for the pay, so why? During one of Jane Bell’s required social calls, we were talking about work ambitions and I mentioned that I loved working at camp. She deduced it must be because I love the team I work with. I realized, she is right. My motivation is highest when I am working with a team I really trust.
This fits with my Enneagram type, which I have mentioned before. I am a type 6 on the Enneagram, which means that I am motivated by a need for security and safety. Toxic, stressful or otherwise uncomfortable work environments make me want to quit. If I have a comfortable work environment without stressful relationships.
I am going to end this blog with one of the best examples of modern motivation. Shia LaBeouf is a visionary, leading the way in the motivational arts. Enjoy.