Motivation @ Work

Have you ever noticed that some people are excited to be at work and have an upbeat attitude and never shirk responsibility…but rather seek additional duties and tasks to facilitate the smooth flow of the employer’s operation?

Now, in my beginnings at SIU, others, who were not of the ‘more work passion club’, would call their colleagues who sought to be busy throughout the work-shift, ‘brown nose’s’, and would warn them that their job performance was making everyone else look bad.

Members of the office or shop or classroom, that have a ‘can-do’ attitude and who want to see the stamp of excellence on their work product…are to be prized and as valuable as the scripture, ‘I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.’   Isaiah 13:12    KJV

How does a manager or supervisor or administrator…motivate their staff to be seekers of excellence?

I recall, that in my case, I was extremely grateful for the opportunity that Southern Illinois University afforded to me and my new bride.

I, quickly, saw that there was room for advancement in Building Services and the production of a clean facility would speak volumes regarding my viability as a integral member of the staff.

To feel appreciated by both your customers and your supervisors and management is extremely important.

There is a transformation that occurs when an employee feels that they are valued by their employer.

During my early years with the university I began receiving complimentary letters from building occupants and departments that I was servicing.  These letters…so encouraged me…and I began to have more and more buy- in to the organization.

I remember, Ray Phoenix, who was my foreman when I was assigned to the Wham building as its Building Custodian, telling me that I was going to be the next foreman.

Foreman, was my career goal in Building Services…and I could not believe that, Ray, thought enough of my work performance to tell me this information regarding a position that I had been striving for and had been passed over…twice…for contestants that I did not feel were as qualified as I.

About a year and one half later…I became the assistant superintendent of Building Services…I was the junior foreman….and I was 29 years old.

We all need to feel like that we matter to the organization.  A wise leader can project to all members of his or her staff, that they are important.  This can only be accomplished if the leader is sincere and not reciting the correct platitudes that are expected for the, ‘great unwashed.’

A manager or an administrator must speak to the employee that they are complimenting, from first hand knowledge of the person’s accomplishments.  This type of leader is a person that believes that they have been given the job of directing a team of equals.

A leader that inspires is a leader that is your colleague not your taskmaster!

My friend, Brad Dillard, is an inspiring leader, because he sees Plant and Service Operations as a team and he is there to facilitate everyone’s success.

My friend, Ryan, is a professional that loves to produce an excellent work product.  He strives to ensure that all of his areas proclaim the golden opportunity that SIU has to offer.

My son, Jonathon, constantly seeks to perform the epitome of customer service and to do so with a smile and a sunny attitude.

My friend, Elizabeth, endeavors to produce an excellent work product, everyday, while at the same time assisting civil service staff throughout the campus.

My son, Aaron, is a leader that regularly works to motivate the members of his staff.

I had the good fortune to be a member of the Civil Service Council for 20 years, including my four years of service as their SUAA representative.  This is a group of civil service employees that are going above and beyond the call of duty.  These folks are the elected representatives of their university sectors and they work countless hours to help their colleagues.

I was amazed, each time, that a leader at the university, spoke to me regarding my good work.  I not only did not expect the encounters…I was shocked when they occurred and I continued to feel more affinity for SIU and wanted to, be a part of the solving of every problem besetting…my school.

When I was promoted to the superintendent of my department, I told the director of PSO and his staff…that my goal was to make our enemies like us and our friends love us.

I had the management philosophy that a good manager could bring a poor work performing member of the staff up to satisfactory and a satisfactory member of the staff up to excellent…and it worked!

Everyone does not respond to the same motivational techniques…in fact each person should be motivated on a personal level…but everyone can be motivated…if they want to be.

That is the key….the employee has to want to improve and to be motivated and to buy-in to the organization.

If they do not…then other issues that are beyond the managers control…are in play.



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