Six motivations

By Paul Clark

As the year draws to a close and many churches consider personnel budgets, one thing is clear: There isn’t much money to be spread around in salary increases. Most churches, if they are giving increases at all, are planning very small. When money is tight, it pays to look more closely to other motivational techniques to keep employees happy and productive.

Different needs motivate different people. Some crave influence, some task variety, while others want money, affirmation, or just want to be left alone. It’s crucial for church executives to figure out what motivates individual employees.

Consider the six needs below as opportunities to motivate your employees:

1. The need for achievement. These employees want the satisfaction of accomplishing projects successfully. Give them leadership tasks in which they can find success. They want to exercise their talents to attain something significant. They are self-motivated if the job is challenging enough, so provide them with the right work assignments and they will consistently produce quality results.

2. The need for power. These employees get satisfaction from influencing the organization. Power isn’t inherently negative. Some employees like to lead and are motivated by the opportunity. They like to lead and persuade. Test their trustworthiness and instincts in some smaller tasks, and then give them the opportunity to make decisions and direct others in some larger roles.

3. The need for affiliation. These employees gain satisfaction from being with others — working in teams, as colleagues, and interacting with others. They enjoy being with people and find the social aspects of their work rewarding. Motivate them by giving them opportunities to work in teams and be sure to cultivate an environment with social elements.

4. The need for autonomy. These employees want freedom and independence. They like to work with little oversight or managerial influence. Again, after testing trustworthiness, let them fly — allow them to make their own choices, set their own schedules and work independently.

5. The need for esteem. These employees need recognition and affirmation. Give them consistent and frequent feedback and public recognition whenever possible.

6. The need for equity. These employees see life as “black and white” and want to be treated fairly. They compare work hours, job duties, salary, titles and privileges to those of other employees, and will become discouraged if they perceive inequities. Be sure to manage with fairness. When an inequity exists, work as quickly as feasible to solve the problem and communicate your intentions.

Paul Clark is executive pastor of operations for Fairhaven Church, Centerville, OH. [ ]


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