How do successful managers motivate their employees? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Gary Hecht, Associate Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, on Quora:

In many firms, compensation and bonuses are determined by ownership, upper management, and/or human resource policies. Thus, most employees within a firm are supervised by managers who do not control these compensation-oriented motivational tools. Rather, employees' direct managers must rely on other mechanisms to motivate employees.

Today's employees are not like those of the distant past. Employees tend to move organizations (and positions) more frequently than their predecessors. That means that employees are more likely to think about their current job, at least partly, as a means to achieving the next stage of their career. And they want value on this dimension.

To motivate employees who adopt this perspective, managers should provide employees the opportunity to learn, as well as deepen and expand their skillset. Employees are naturally motivated to perform well in these opportunities.

Another important aspect is trust. Managers are often successful when they exhibit trust toward employees - to perform well, identify problems and develop solutions, and make and implement decisions appropriate for their level. Employees are often de-motivated when they are overly monitored, or when they are not provided responsibility, as they do not feel like they "own" their experience.

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Published on: Jul 26, 2018