Motivation of an Employee

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When an employee is to be motivated there is need to develop the conditions and incentives which will make a person to exhibit the desired behavior. The most difficult challenge for a leader is to figure out as to how to motivate the people working for him. This is so because motivation can sometimes get very personal and inexperienced leaders fail in this regard because they believe that employees will get motivated by the same factors that motivate them.

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Inexperienced leaders are also under the impression that the motivating factors that work for one employee will work for another also. Hence it is very true that as far as motivation is concerned, one size does not fit all employees. Presently Tom has hardly adopted any motivation techniques for his people in order to extract the maximum output from them. Tom will therefore have to formulate a strategy of motivation for his employees keeping in mind the prevalence of varied circumstances in his working environment. It is important to examine motivation in view of its being a major component of organizational behavior.

Motivating Employees through Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors

It is fundamentally accepted that motivation comes from within the employee. Although external factors do motivate people, they are considered to be secondary in the context of employees since they need to see value and satisfaction in what they do.. Motivation that engages the employee in activities that maintains and enhances his concept of self image will go a long way in preparing Tom’s employees to have the positive attitude in bringing good results for him. It is strongly believed by theorists that motivation is best brought about by letting people do the work without any external influence.

Extrinsic motivation relates to external factors that stem from the work environment at the instance of the organization. Such factors include different forms of supervision, company policies, fringe benefits and pay. In this context Tom will have to formulate a combination of on the job activities and procedures that make the employee intrinsically and extrinsically interested. This is possible if he appeals to their aspirations in terms of job expectations and job satisfaction.

Job satisfaction is crucial in motivating employees and since Tom has not yet adopted any theoretical means in this regard he can move as per the Hertzberg theory which requires that he take care of hygiene at the work place and of other working conditions. This is important in view of the present status and location of his business which is not in keeping with the luxurious and fancy upkeep of other corporate offices. If he can achieve such standards it will be like icing on the cake for his employees who will certainly feel motivated and look forward to attend to work in a charged mental and emotional state.

Employee Motivation

Employees are best motivated if their needs are addressed and a very effective means to do so is to understand the needs from the perspective of The Maslow Theory of hierarchical needs. The needs of employees that are least fulfilled can be addressed in motivating Tom’s employees. The five needs according to Maslow are:

  • Physiological needs
  • Safety needs
  • Belongingness needs
  • Esteem needs
  • Self-actualization needs

In this context effective ways to motivate employees includes the provision of opportunities to learn new things. They need positive performance feed back and recognition. Tom has to be careful in avoiding de-motivating factors in the work place, such as criticism and punishment for minor mistakes. He should put a stop to the practice of firing employees if they are found to be non performers. They need leverage on the basis of having inadequate knowledge and can hence be provided a little learning opportunity to maser the required techniques. Adopting such an empathetic attitude will help Tom a great deal in winning over his employees who in turn will cover the extra mile to meet his objectives.

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When given moral support employees will remain motivated and feel secure at the work place. Tom has to foster this feeling amongst all his people by encouraging them to take on added responsibilities. Tom must keep in mind that motivation is an individual’s own trait and one strategy will not work in the same way for all employees. He will have to initially go through the exercise of understanding the attitudes and motivating factors of each employee and then take appropriate strategic actions. Attitudes at the work place matter a lot and are influenced by the attitudes of co-workers also.

There are some workers with Tom who do not like the work and come simply to use the time to stake claim to the wages. Such people can pass on the negative attitude to other workers and similarly good workers too can pass on their positive attitude to other workers. Tom must understand each of his employees and cater to his or her psychological needs in keeping them in high spirits.

Motivation through Challenges

An employee can be motivated if he works towards goals that prove to be of meaning to him. To achieve such goals the employee must engage in activities that may be difficult but attainable. In essence people like challenges but they must perceive that such goals can be attained by them in order to stay motivated. Tom should set individual goals for each of the employees in keeping with their interests, caliber and potential so that they feel a sense of achievement when they achieve the given targets. This is very much possible if goals are set which are personally meaningful, are possible and provide feedback on each employee’s performance. The goals for each employee should be aligned with the self esteem of the individual.

Motivation through Competition

Tom can achieve good results from his employees if he can motivate his people by bringing in competition. It is a natural tendency amongst humans to gain immense satisfaction by measuring and comparing their performance with their peers and colleagues. Tom can create such a competition to foster motivation, but he has to keep in mind that for some, competition may be more motivating than others. A negative aspect of this belief is the fact that losing in a competition will de motivate an employee, and Tom will have to formulate a strategy to create a positive environment in this regard. The spirit of competition can sometimes make employees arrogant and hence unhelpful to their competitors. Tom can infuse competition within his system so that the better performers get added incentives.

Motivation through Cooperation

At most times the feeling that cooperating with others will help meet their objectives proves to be very motivating under all circumstances. Most employees will feel a sense of satisfaction in helping each other to achieve their goals as set by Tom. Motivation as a result of cooperation can result artificially and naturally also. Tom can get to know each employee personally since there are not too many of them. He can also figure out as to how many of them are prone to be cooperative since an atmosphere of cooperation is useful in different situations. Tom too needs to exhibit a cooperative attitude with his people as far as possible so that they develop the trust in him to share what is on their minds. Tom has to exhibit excellent interpersonal skills to achieve this objective. He has to provide for employee engagement so that employees get psychological meaningfulness, psychological safety and psychological availability while working.

Motivation through Recognition

All individuals are motivated by recognition when their achievements are recognized and rewarded in keeping with their expectations. Tom has to be careful in distinguishing between recognition and competition. This is so since recognition does not imply any comparison of employees with each other but is an acknowledgement of the good work done by them. Employees will have to be engaged by Tom in a way that they are effectively engaged in expressing themselves emotionally, cognitively and physically while performing jobs.

Leadership Style

In the given circumstances Tom will have to adopt specific leadership styles in bringing a turn around in the performance of his business by demonstrating leadership qualities that should strongly influence and motivate his employees. He needs to flex the appropriate styles in the given situations at hand so that his business succeeds. A good leader is skilled in different styles and understands instinctively which one to use. Leadership will be examined here in keeping with the Path-Goal theory and theory of emotional intelligence. It will be useful for Tom to adhere to Path-Goal theory in influencing his employees by way of leadership strategies that affect participative, supportive, directive, and achievement-oriented behaviors in them. According to House, who initiated the Path-Goal theory, good leaders should form a relationship between organizational and employee goals.

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Tom must provide job satisfaction to his employees so that they accept his leadership. In providing job satisfaction he has to give them a certain amount of autonomy, job security, a friendly environment, career progression and avoid dissatisfaction amongst them. If the employees are not satisfied they will feel depressed and may resort to absenteeism or may even leave him. As per the dispositional model a greater number of satisfied employees will perform better in demonstrating organizational commitment.

Leadership is strengthened if the consideration and initiating structure can be used in concentrating on attainment of goals by groups. Consideration implies the extent to which the leader shows personal concern for employees and the extent to which he is approachable. Initiating structure relates to the involvement of the leader with his employees in the production activities. We can see that presently Tom has no role to play in working with his people and if he can start this practice there would certainly be an increase in the motivation levels amongst all workers.

Strategic leadership relates to the ability of the leader to maintain flexibility and to envision by way of strategic thinking to work with his people in bringing about changes that will improve the future prospects of the company. It is strange to find Tom saying that he would fire anybody who does not meet the given performance quota. This is not in keeping with traits of a good strategic leader.

He has to maintain the core competencies and at the same time provide opportunities for his people to grow within his company. Hence Tom will have to change his attitude in developing human capital by sustaining an effective organizational culture by emphasizing on ethical practices. By adopting such an attitude Tom will be able to better focus on growth opportunities and to manage and create a high standard of intellectual capital which will be beneficial for his business in the long term.

Tom will have to imbibe the following leadership styles in motivating his employees to ultimately succeed on a consistent basis in his business.

Coaching Leaders

Theory pertaining to coaching leadership entails that the leader focus on helping his people in their job related activities and in their personal development. This kind of leadership has to be demonstrated by Tom because in the present set up there is no demonstration of a positive portrayal of his leadership skills in motivating his employees to come up with better results. He will have to help employees to increase their speed and effectiveness with prospects by working with them closely so that they have the required tools and knowledge to do their jobs. Tom has to ensure that the employees understand their weak areas and are receptive to advices on improving performance.

Pacesetting Leaders

After Tom has increased their skills in making them self motivated, it will prove very effective for him to set high performance goals for himself as also for the group which will exemplify the behavior that his people seek from other group members. Tom will have to use such strategy sparingly since there is tendency for employees to burn out because of the high demand on one’s speed to achieve the given goals.

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Democratic Leaders

This style of leadership enables members of the working group to have a say in different aspects of the decision taking process. If used effectively, responsibility and flexibility can be built by the democratic leader by using the participative techniques which will further help in identifying better ways to go about the work with fresher ideas. Such a model of situational participation was developed by Victor Vroom and Arthur Jago while attempting to specify the extent to which participation should be used by the leader. Tom will have to gradually build up with his employees in this regard since this process is time consuming and the results show at a later stage. But by adopting the given techniques Tom will be able to involve his employees in making work related decisions which will increase motivation amongst them.

Affiliate Leaders

The affiliate leadership style is very useful and effective in conditions that exhibit a low morale on the part of employees. Under such circumstances teambuilding becomes essential and leaders should put the employee on priority. Tom can win his people’s confidence and support in using this theme to make his business successful. This style can be very useful for Tom since encouragement and appreciation are vital for employees in the boiler room where the working environment is not in keeping with an ideal corporate surrounding. Tom will also have to be tactful in using this strategy since there will be some non performers who cannot be reprimanded for poor performance.

Authoritative Leaders

Tom will have to adopt the style of an authoritative leader when business is not stable, as it often happens, and will have to demonstrate expertise in dealing with the prevailing challenges and problems so as to focus on his goals. This type of leader gives leverage to employees to work on the given goals by using their own strategy. This is particularly useful in Tom’s business since employees just need to be given targets and then they can deal with prospects in their own ways as a result of the insights they gain from experience.

Coercive Leaders

The Coercive leader is always in command and control which normally results in a decreased motivation amongst employees who deal with him. Tom has so far been quite coercive and will have to soften to some extent so as to enable an open environment so that employees can express their problems and other issues. However at times when Tom needs to bring in faster results he has to be coercive in pressurizing his people to deliver results. This style is normally used as the last resort to effect drastic changes or to deal with employees who are not performing well.

In view of the business model that Tom is working in, it becomes necessary for him to imbibe the skills in as many styles as possible which will enable him to become a better leader in achieving his business objectives, since his business is largely dependent on the performance of his people who have to be regularly watched, motivated and dealt with in different ways at different times.

Job Design

To bring about efficiency in the productive process Tom needs to change the job design in keeping with the feasibility of tying pay with performance and introducing wage incentive plans. Merit pay plans if implemented effectively will result in an appropriate rewards program for employees. Pay is a very important motivating factor for employees and Tom should look into individual performances to bring changes in this regard. In keeping with the job characteristics model it will be appropriate for Tom to identify the characteristics which make the job more motivating and then incorporate the same in the design of jobs.

By capitalizing on the factors that influence intrinsic motivation the employees can be molded to increase productivity. If the jobs are made richer in providing satisfaction and rewards for employees there would certainly be improvement in the overall performance of Tom’s business. Since there is a frequent pattern for employees to skip work on account of child care arrangements falling off, Tom can provide additional incentives for child care services so that there is no absenteeism on this account. Employees if given benefits on the basis of pay for performance will be motivated to take further pains to show positive results because of the added incentives by way of cash bonuses. It will be in order for Tom to initiate changes in the job design on the basis of core job characteristics in keeping with the skill varieties, task identities, task significance and autonomy and job feedback.

The design of the jobs has to be done in a way that intrinsic motivation is enhanced, quality of life is improved and a meaningful job involvement is brought about for all employees. Tom will have to bring about job enrichment by increasing the potential of jobs to motivate his employees by arranging the core job characteristics so that they get a sense of achievement for the work done in keeping with their competencies. Employees are always in high spirits if they have adequate job involvement which is possible only if the core job characteristics are related positively to them. A basic problem with most of Tom’s employees relates to the fact that they cannot be relied upon for turning up on time.

This may be because the boiler room is located at an inconvenient place which is not considered a decent enough place for many of the workers to commute to during the odd hours that Tom expects them to attend work, which is mostly in the evening.. Tom can think of providing a flexible attendance schedule especially for women and working mothers and this would surely motivate most workers to attend work in time and bring about higher productivity levels. Tom should also introduce a system whereby employees get the option to work from their homes, which is very much possible in view of the nature of the work. Communication technology now permits to effectively deliver the required results by way of electronic messages, voice mail and computer networking.

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BusinessEssay. "Motivation of an Employee." May 21, 2022.