In the world people are paid for their work. The higher the pay the greater the motivation. Wrong! Although people should be paid a fair wage for a fair day’s work a wage increase is, for most people, only a short term reward and recognition of effort and responsibility. It does not motivate in a healthy way, though it might motivate towards greater materialism as witnessed in recent years with the banking scandals.
Motivation comes from an internal drive, the feeling that what we are doing is worthwhile and has value, often in benefitting others. For this to happen the fruit of our labours should be seen and affirmed. Few things are less motivating than when our hard work goes un-noticed. Volunteers are not paid so this fact is particularly important to understand if you have responsibility for mobilising and managing people.
Here is a list of some keys that help people to be motivated:
- Cause and Community
1. Cause and Community
In introducing this series I stated that it would be about ‘people who are willing to give of their time and energies sacrificially for the sake of a cause they believe in’. Deep down we all want to leave the world in a better state than the one in which we find it. One of the major philosophical questions is ‘What is the meaning of life?’ I don’t intend to enter into a discourse here (you will be relieved to hear) but most people feel that helping raise people’s quality of life in some way, particularly for Christians to find an eternal purpose, is a very fulfilling and rewarding way to spend our energies.
Most people also want to feel involved in some form of community. We were not designed by God to be isolates. So if we are able to spend significant amounts of our time working with others we like and respect, while also pressing forward to a worthwhile goal, we shall be very fulfilled and motivated.
Most people thrive on encouragement. That is why ‘encouragement’ is a spiritual gift – it reflects the heart of God and is one of the ‘tools’ he gives us to build one another up. Sadly, we often hear of people who are faithful servants in their workplaces but report that no-one ever seems to notice how hard and diligently they work. This can kill motivation. In contrast we sometimes hear stories where people have laid down their lives for their leader, sometimes literally, or have ‘gone the extra mile’ because he or she had demonstrated servant-leadership in the way he had cared for his team. You can be sure that such a leader is an encourager. Encouragement produces a positive response.
Next time we will continue to look at this list of motivational keys.