WebProWorld IT Forum

Is Apple’s Intel Switch the Beginning of a Cinderella Story?
For years the Mac was a highly specialized PC, ignored by most, but loved by certain industry aficionados. But no matter how dearly adored it was for its stability, security, and usefulness in the layout and design professions, it didn’t have the appeal that came with heavy hitter Microsoft

ePrompter - AIM Address
Does anyone know how to set "ePrompter" to check an AIM email address; e.g: xyz@aim.com? I have to enter in the POP3 Server it seems. I have tried several times, but no luck so far. Thanks for any input on this.

Microsoft Pushes Blackberry Into Juicer
Microsoft announced plans to jam, can and push Blackberry's email system onto the back shelf when Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced the Messaging and Security Feature Pack for Windows Mobile 5.0.



Recent Articles

Searching For An IT Job
Looking for an IT job is one of the easiest to perform due to the incredibly high demand in the IT field. As the Internet grows, corporations network through Intranets - even the advancement of science has the demand for anyone with IT skills at an all time high.

CA Gets Clarity In Niku Deal
The all cash purchase valued at $21 per share brings the IT management and governance solution company into the Computer Associates fold. CA's purchase price will total at about $350 million USD...

Sun Rises With StorageTek
Sun Microsystems is buying Storage Technology Corporation or StorageTek for $37 per share in cash, adding up to about $4.1 billion. The acquisition has been approved by the boards of both companies.

HP and Microsoft Planning Identity Systems Dominance
Dennis Miller once said that "Bill Gates is a monocle and a Persian cat away from being a bad guy in a James Bond movie." Last week, Hewlett-Packard announced that it, along with Gates' Microsoft...

Make Sure Your Intranet Is Well Perceived By Staff
Many intranets are only now beginning to show their true potential. However, many staff, having had unsatisfactory previous experiences of the intranet, may need quite some convincing that the intranet is now genuinely useful.

06.15.05


To Motivate, Don't Demotivate

By Paul Glen

Recently, a couple of intended compliments threw me for a loop. Two people called me in the same week and wanted me to present keynote speeches at their conferences. Of course, that was the flattering part, but what got to me was that they both referred to me as a "motivational speaker."

Since I'm a typical geek, the phrase motivational speaker immediately sets off alarm bells in my mind. It conjures up an image of some tall, tanned, large-toothed, smiling charisma machine expertly manipulating the emotions of a crowd, whipping up a frenzy at one moment and bringing forth tears of sadness and joy the next.

"Well, I suppose that many people find what I have to say motivating," I suggested, "but I don't try to make people cry or tell stories about overcoming cancer."

"Oh, that's fine," they both said.

Whew!

But the invitations got me thinking about all the things managers do to try to motivate their staffs: giving inspirational speeches, handing out bonuses, making up awards, inviting everyone out for drinks, hosting family picnics or sending staffers to training on cool new technology that they may never get to use.

I admire the sentiment of those active managers, trying to motivate their teams. But when I reflect on the most engaged groups I have worked with, it's not clear that managers who explicitly try to light a fire under their teams are any more successful than those who are less attentive.

True motivation in technical teams tends to grow organically. Individuals find their own motivation in many sources. For some, it's the opportunity for learning and advancement. For others, the broad and perhaps even global results of their work are very engaging. Some are just excited to work with the group of peers they are currently engaged with.

But the one thing that most of the managers with motivated groups do have in common is that they all avoid demotivating their teams.

Although the motivation of teams grows organically, often out of the control of managers, demotivation and dejection usually start at the top. Internally generated motivation tends to be a relatively fragile state. While a manager may not be able to create a motivated team, he often has the power to kill whatever motivation grows.

So, what sorts of things do managers do that demotivate their teams?

Excluding technicians from decision-making. Technical people's distress at being left out of major decisions is about more than just feeling out of the loop. They often sense that their talents have been disregarded. They have been insulted. And, since many decisions are influenced by technical considerations, they also feel that the decisions themselves could be suspect, since managers' technical knowledge is rarely respected. Any of these interpretations would qualify as demotivating.

Inconsistency. People who are drawn to careers in technology typically have a strong need for consistency and predictability. Early interactions with computers are quite comforting for them. As youngsters, they draw conclusions about computers, their parents and themselves. "If I type in this command, the computer always does the same thing. That's cool. I wish my mom was that predictable."

Next thing you know, they're programmers. When managers are inconsistent, at best they create distractions, and at worst they encourage their people to feel insecure. Neither result is particularly motivating.

Excessive monitoring. Among technical groups, there are few bigger insults than to call someone a micromanager. The feeling of being micromanaged is profoundly demotivating. Monitoring someone excessively, intentionally or not, communicates distrust for the person being overseen. And in many kinds of technical work, it can also serve as an impediment to progress. In intellectually demanding, creative work, interruptions can disrupt thinking for long periods of time. A manager's one-minute drop-by can result in hours of lost productivity regaining the concentration lost.

So if you want a truly motivated team, one of the best things you can do is to make sure that you're not a demotivational leader. As it turns out, not having a negative effect on your team can be a huge positive.

(This article originally appeared in Computerworld USA and Computerworld Australia.)

About the Author:
Paul Glen is an IT management consultant and the author of the award-winning book "Leading Geeks: How to Manage and Lead People Who Deliver Technology" (Jossey-Bass Pfeiffer,2003). He regularly speaks for corporations and national associations across North America. For more information go to: http://www.paulglen.com. He can be reached at info@paulglen.com.

About ITManagementNews
ITmanagementNews answers questions for IT managers. Our experts offer real-world advise and cutting edge technology for the enterprise. ITmanagementNews is focused on Delivering IT Solutions

ITManagementNews is brought to you by:

SecurityConfig.comNetworkingFiles.com
NetworkNewz.comWebProASP.com
DatabaseProNews.comSQLProNews.com
ITcertificationNews.comSysAdminNews.com
LinuxProNews.comWirelessProNews.com
CProgrammingTrends.comDevWebPro.com


-- ITManagementNews is an iEntry, Inc. publication --
iEntry, Inc. 2549 Richmond Rd. Lexington KY, 40509
2005 iEntry, Inc. All Rights Reserved Privacy Policy Legal

archives | advertising info | news headlines | free newsletters | comments/feedback | submit article

Delivering IT SolutionsITManagementNewsNewsArchivesAbout UsFeedbackITManagementNews Home PageAboutArticle ArchiveNewsDownloadsWebProWorld ForumsJaydeiEntryAdvertiseContact