As in many other areas of human activity, a large body of conventional wisdom has accumulated surrounding work and managing workers. Much of it is accurate and helpful in improving performance and productivity.
But not all of it hits the mark. Some fallacies and misconceptions creep in, which can create more problems than solve them. Here are a few.
1. Engagement causes greater productivity
Conventional wisdom has it that workers need to be engaged in order to be productive. But some research suggests counterintuitively that the reverse is actually true, that workers who are more productive are more engaged.
This is true, according to the research, because productive workers are the ones who are more likely to be promoted, to get more money, to receive more reward and recognition. The satisfaction they get from their achievements also leads to greater motivation and engagement.
This all leads to a circular movement of reinforcement– greater productivity leading to greater engagement and satisfaction, which in turn propels the person to more productivity.
2. Money is the primary incentive for work
For many people, this may be true. But for others, there may be other factors that are more important, such as work that is meaningful or fulfilling or that allows greater creativity, or work that makes a significant contribution to society.
This is important from a management standpoint. It’s helpful for managers to know, for each worker, what is their primary motivation.
3. Punitive measures help productivity.
Many managers believe that to motivate their workers they need a get-tough attitude and need to mete out punishment for those who are not performing as they should.
But this is not the best way to go about it. The purpose of punishing someone is to stop unwanted behavior. It doesn’t do anything to enhance or increase the kind of be positive behavior you’re looking for
On top of that, it’s not a very good management strategy because the manager is always looking for instances where employees are not performing as they should and then giving them some kind of consequences for their behavior. It does nothing to help motivate employees. In fact, the opposite.
4. Stress is not good
This is true if the stress is high and continues for a longer period of time. But occasional small amounts of stress can actually be helpful as a motivational tool. It is when the stress becomes too great that performance and even health can suffer.
5. Workers should always strive to avoid conflict
as with stress, occasional disagreements about how things are done or what should be done can be a good thing because it creates an environment where different ideas and outlooks can be exchanged, which in turn can lead to greater creativity and innovation.