Work force motivation

Two days ago I stumbled on some very interesting statistics. The Gallup poll of October 2013 showed that only 13% of employees worldwide were engaged, 24% were actively disengaged and 63% were not engaged at all.

Demotivated is entrenched

This is really disturbing, as this means that 87% of the active workforce worldwide is working reluctantly and without motivation. Strangely enough, these figures tie up pretty closely with the figures I cited in my earlier blog on management by fear. In this article I want to understand why our corporate / political leaders lack the power of motivation.

Our leaders are generally to young and inexperienced

One of the biggest changes of the last 20 /30 years in our society is the youthfulness of our leaders. In politics as in boardrooms leaders are getting younger and younger. Grey hair is becoming rare in the active world and we have been convinced that youth is the key to performance and creativity. With the advent of computers and automation, we have developed a dogma about the capability of elders to lead. We have come to the belief that we need youth to keep ahead of developments and technology.

As a result all companies developed fast track programs for the elite, and our political leaders got younger. There is nothing wrong with using youth, but it does become a problem when it is generalized and becomes the rule.

Problem with fast track management programs

The Fast track programs I have experienced where created to bring talented individuals to a senior position before they reached the mid 30’s.  The chosen few were placed in project / program management posts. Some went into sales or marketing. Which are all indirect management functions. Many achieved MBA’s or other such studies and accreditations. Then, when they reached the mid 30’s they were promoted to director or vice president responsible for large teams.

Management skills are not based on academic learning capabilities

What we have forgotten is that however high an IQ, it is pretty much impossible to develop the right people management skills without having lived and breathed the function for some time. This is the crux of the problem. There are now many young executives gifted with plenty of brains, and great theories, but lacking the basis in people management skills.

Some people are simply born with great leadership assets. These need little coaching or preparation to take on responsibility and motivate the troops. The vast majority of managers need quite some training, coaching and experience to develop the required attribute. IQ and academic achievement does not relate to the ability to manage, but rather the ability to learn skills. For this reason it is key that the right learning experience is provided to the future leaders. And this is exactly where we fail.

Diversify management

It is widely acknowledged that a culturally diversified management team with a good balance of both genders are the best performing in today’s market place. What we have forgotten is that age must also be part of this diversity and that we still have a lot to learn from our seniors. It may not be about technology, although this gap is closing fast, but about management skills, motivation, empathy and wisdom. In fact the key skills to a motivated and thus performing work force. 

Date created: 21/08/2015       Date modified: 02/09/2021
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