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Tag Archives: Hawthorne Effect

Raise your employees’ self-esteem: offer genuine and sincere praise

Earlier this year in a previous blog post, I told you about the Hawthorne Effect – ground-breaking research on employee motivation by Dr. Elton Mayo in the 1930’s.  In a nutshell, Mayo discovered a fundamental concept that may seem obvious to us today: that workplaces are social environments and people thrive in positive and respectful surroundings.  So, as a leader, when you create a positive atmosphere at work, you are much more likely to secure your employees’ cooperation and loyalty, and thus improve productivity and performance.  Which leads to the next obvious question: what are some specific things that you can do to create such an environment and motivate and encourage your employees to peak performance?

Here’s one very effective approach: take steps to raise the self-esteem of your employees.  And the simplest and most influential way to do so – offer genuine and sincere praise for the things that they do well.  The keys to success – first, your praise must be genuine and sincere, and second, keep in mind that saying “thank you” is quite possibly the easiest alternative there is.  Now you may think to yourself that you do this already, but wait just a moment … let’s conduct a little experiment.  Tomorrow, before you go to work, put ten pennies in one pocket.  Continue reading

So what really motivates employees?

In today’s fast-paced world, you’d expect the biggest workplace challenge for business professionals would be the rapid advance of technology, or the need to keep abreast of the competition, or the myriad of options when it comes to raising financial capital.  Yet over and over again, the managers and supervisors I work with tell me something completely different.  “Managing and motivating employees” is their toughest challenge they tell me.  “Not that the other decisions are unimportant,” they explain.  “It’s just that if you are having trouble inspiring the troops, the other challenges can become secondary.”  There are no magic pills when it comes to encouraging and motivating your staff (I wish), but one of the answers to this leadership conundrum, believe it or not, has been known for quite a while.  In fact, the basic principle of human motivation that helped revolutionize today’s theory and practice of leadership was actually discovered, quite by accident, in the early 1930’s.  The Hawthorne Effect, as it has come to be known, demonstrated that the mere act of showing people that you are concerned about them usually spurs them to better job performance.

Here’s a quick history lesson.  Continue reading