C. V. Aravind

There is a perception in corporate circles that motivation is always a top-down affair with the boss motivating the subordinates, the premise being that the man or woman at the helm of affairs is a highly motivated individual and only those down the line are in need of motivation. This need not necessarily be the norm as bosses also could do with some motivation to keep their morale high and the adrenaline flowing. In fact, whenever there is a downturn in business, it is often the boss who feels the pinch first and who could do with some pep talk and invigoration.

Moreover, it is also wrong to think that a pat on the back is something that only subordinates cherish, with bosses being above such mundane recognitions for a job well done. A boss would also appreciate if members of his team complimented him for targets achieved or for a new client gained, and so on. This will also go a long way in creating a motivating environment which is a sine qua non for progress.

To quote the founder of the Virgin empire, Richard Branson: “My parents brought me up with lots of praise and little criticism. We all flourish with praise. Flowers do well when they are watered and shrivel up when they are not and people are exactly the same whether you are a chief executive or a switchboard operator.”

It is, therefore, apparent that the need for motivation transcends all cadres. However, one has to be careful with bosses who are not so forthcoming and may not be amenable not only for criticism but for praise too. They, however, remain highly motivated, irrespective of praise from their superiors or subordinates, as they take their job as a challenge.

Most bosses, however, belong to the category that craves for praise and acclaim and there is no harm whatsoever in their being so because it is a normal human tendency to strive for encomiums, which have a tremendous impact on the output. John Adair, the world-renowned leadership and management guru says: “We are social animals and we thirst for the esteem of others. Without fairly regular payments in that deposit account it is hard to maintain the balance of our own self-esteem.” So motivation really works for all, bosses included.

(The author is Bangalore-based freelance journalist.)

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 30, 2007)
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