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管理攻心术:激励员工的奥秘

Linda A. Hill/Kent Lineback 2011年10月27日

老板们要想真正调动员工的工作积极性,不但要扫清抑制他们积极性的负面因素,还要在员工心中注入积极向上的正面因素。

    大部分经理人几乎每天都要面临如何调动员工积极性的挑战。如何让同事积极投入?你所付出了足够的努力?你做的工作是否过多或者根本没有找对方向?

    今年9月30日的《科学》杂志(Science)报道了佛蒙特大学(University of Vermont)两位社会学家的研究成果。为了更好地了解人类情绪的起落,他们在两年时间内(2008年2月至2010年1月),对84个英语国家的240万人进行研究,研究的文本就是他们发布的5亿多条Twitter信息。

    研究发现,受访者不论来自哪种文化、地域和时区,积极与消极情绪几乎每天都在交替循环。总体而言,人们的积极情绪在清晨(上午6 - 9点)处于巅峰状态,之后会不断下降,在中午/午后跌入最低点,午后开始回升,傍晚重新达到巅峰。表面看来,工作才是破坏好心情的罪魁祸首;然而,这种循环在休息日依然存在。如此看来,这种现象背后所隐藏的深层原因要复杂得多。

    这项研究明确了一个一直广受认可的现象,它对经理人具有重要的意义,但却很少在他们激励员工的方式中得到体现。

    社会学家所谓的正面情绪(良好的感觉)与负面情绪之间并无关联。正如研究发起人所说,这两种情绪“相互独立,并非同一个维度上的两个不同极端。负面情绪并非正面情绪的对立面,但这两种情绪也并非始终平行。”

    在职场中,我们将这种正面或负面“情绪”称为积极性、敬业精神和投入 ——也就是员工额外付出努力以获得超常绩效的意愿。不论叫法如何,现象本身并无区别:“积极”与“懈怠”或者“全心投入”与“漠不关心”都是完全不同的概念。造成两种情绪的因素也截然不同。

    以一个人的健康为例,我们可以充分理解这些缘由和推动因素之间的关系。如果一个人身染重病,肯定会陷入沮丧的情绪当中。但试想一下,当他最终康复时,又会是什么心情呢?康复会让他激情满满——但这样的状态不会一直持续下去,他很快就会因为满足而失去激情。当健康状况正常了,生活也就恢复到平常的状态。于是,他再也无法从中得到激励。所以说,一个人恶劣的健康状况会抑制他的情绪,但身体康复也并不足以激励一个人做出多么了不起的事情。

    对于老板而言,这一发现的意义就在于,如果你希望下属工作积极(或敬业或全心投入),就必须有抓好两方面的工作。既要扫清限制因素,又要代之以调动积极性的推动因素。

    扫清抑制员工积极性的障碍最多能达到“中性”结果(让员工维持常态——译者)。如果概括上述研究人员的话来说,就是积极性与缺乏积极性(或者说投入与漠然)并非同一领域的对立双方,而是两个互不相干的独立领域,需要区别对待。

    我们遇到过许多经理人,他们非常关注导致员工缺乏积极性的原因,例如薪酬福利微薄、工作环境恶劣、公司的政策和规定有损人格或不利员工发展、个人地位低微、同事关系紧张等——这些也是老板向员工了解情况时,员工常见的理由。这些问题确实亟待解决,但这并非全部。经理人若想提高员工绩效,就必须更进一步,给出令人信服的理由,才能促使让员工全身心地投入工作。

    具体应该怎么做?下文给出的建议虽然无法面面俱到,但却可以作为一个良好的开始。对照一下,哪些是你已经做到的?

    激发兴趣的工作目的。每个人都希望能够参与到重大的事件中来。你是否与员工探讨过你们的工作目的——不仅仅是做什么,还有为什么?对于从你们的工作中受益的其他人,你和你的团队是否会去关注?

    具有挑战性的目标与计划。人们不仅希望能参与重要的事件,还希望能为重要的事情努力奋斗。经理人需要根据工作目的,提出具有挑战性的目标和计划,明确员工实现这些目标的途径。

    明确的职责与责任。每个人都需要明确自身的职责和团队对他们的期望。人们希望明确自己的工作与团队整体目标之间存在的联系,因为这能让他们感觉受到团队的重视,感觉到自我价值的存在。明确每个人的职责,并就他们的工作表现给出明确的反馈,就能使每位员工掌控自己的工作,无需经理人事无巨细地监督他们的一举一动,因为这种行为会极大地挫伤员工的情绪。

    简而言之,如果老板希望员工有卓越的表现,既要扫清障碍,又必须给出有力的理由,才能促使员工努力工作。这两方面截然不同,必须同等重视,不可偏废。

    20世纪后期,弗雷德里克•赫兹伯格是这一观点的坚定支持者。关于他的思想理论,请参阅《再来一次:如何激励员工?》(One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees?)一文。

    本文作者琳达•A•希尔是哈佛商学院(Harvard Business School)教授;肯特•林内贝克,作家,拥有30年丰富的管理经验。《做真正的老板:成为伟大领袖必备的三个特质》(Being the Boss: The 3 Imperatives for Becoming a Great Leader)一书由两人合著。

    译者:阿龙/汪皓

    For most managers, hardly a day goes by without confronting the challenge of employee motivation. Are you doing enough to engage the people who you work with? Are you doing too much or just not the right things?

    An article in the September 30 issue of Science describes the efforts of two sociologists at the University of Vermont who tried to better understand the rise and fall of people's spirits. They studied 2.4 million people's moods by analyzing the words they used in over 500 million tweets originating in 84 English-speaking countries over two years (February 2008 through January 2010).

    What they found was a daily cycle of positive and negative feelings that seemed to apply consistently across cultures, geographies, and time zones. Around the world, people's positive moods peaked in the morning (6-9 a.m.), dropped through the day until reaching a trough by mid/late-afternoon, began to pick up in late afternoon, and peaked again in the evening. The glib conclusion is that work is the culprit that destroys people's good moods, but the cycle holds on days off too, so what's going on is much more complicated.

    The study confirmed a long-recognized phenomenon that has huge implications for managers but is rarely reflected in how bosses try to energize their staff.

    What social scientists call positive affect (good feelings) and negative affect are not related to each other. As the authors of the study say, the two "vary independently and are not opposite ends of a single dimension. NA (negative affect) is neither the mirror image of PA, nor do the two measures move consistently in parallel."

    In the work world, we talk not of positive or negative "affect" but of motivation, commitment, and engagement -- the willingness of people to expend the extra effort that extraordinary performance usually requires. Whatever it's called, the phenomenon is the same: "motivated" and "unmotivated" or "engaged" and "unengaged" are two different things. The factors that drive one are different from the factors that drive the other.

    A good way to understand the difference between such causes and drivers is to think of your health. If you've ever been seriously ill, you understand how depressing that can be. But recall what happened when eventually you recovered. You were energized by good health -- for a time. But soon enough you came to expect it. Health became just normal, the way life should be. It didn't energize you any more. So health can be a disincentive when you lose it, but good health doesn't motivate you to do great things.

    The implication for you as a boss is that if you want motivated (or committed or engaged) people, you must take two kinds of actions. You must remove restraints and replace them with drivers of motivation.

    Removing the things that inhibit motivation will lead, at most, to a neutral place. To paraphrase the authors of the Twitter study, motivation and a lack of motivation (or engagement and disengagement) aren't opposite ends of the same spectrum. They are two spectra that have to be managed separately.

    If you're like most managers we've met, you tend to focus on the causes of low motivation, such as poor pay and benefits, lousy work conditions, demeaning or obstructive policies and rules, status, or bad relationships with co-workers -- the kinds of things that people will name if you ask them what's wrong. You do have to deal with these things, but that's not enough. If you want high performance, you must go further and also offer compelling reasons for people to commit themselves wholeheartedly.

    What are those things? This is hardly a complete list, but it's a good start. How many of them have you put in place?

    Compelling purpose. People want to feel like they are a part of something important. Do you talk about the purpose of your work -- not just what you do but why you do it? Do you talk about those outside your group who benefit from what you do?

    Challenging goals and plans. Besides feeling like they are a part of something important, people often want to strive toward something important. They need challenging goals based on their purpose and plans that show how they can achieve those goals.

    Clear roles and responsibilities. People often need to know what they're responsible for individually and what others expect of them. They want to see the link between their work and the team's overall purpose because that's how they will feel both valued and valuable. With clarity about what they do, and clear feedback about how they're doing, they can take control of their own work, and you won't need to supervise their activities, which can be a powerful source of discouragement.

    In simple terms, if you want superior performance, you must both remove obstacles and put in place reasons to work hard. Pay attention to both. They're not the same.

    Frederick Herzberg was the great expounder of this important idea in the latter part of the 20th century. For a summary of his thinking, see One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees?

    Linda A. Hill, a professor at Harvard Business School, and Kent Lineback, a writer with 30 years of management experience, are co-authors of Being the Boss: The 3 Imperatives for Becoming a Great Leader.

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