Friday, 30 January 2009

Motivation Bite Size - Job Satisfaction

One of the greatest motivators in the workplace is job satisfaction - that feeling of actually enjoying the job that you do and looking forward to coming to work in the mornings. But what are the main contributors to job satisfaction?

The starting point is normally, are you good at your job? Does your job suit your skill set? Does it enable you to play to your strengths and minimise exposure to your weaknesses?

Secondly, does it interest you? If you enjoy analytical work, are you given plenty of opportunity to exercise this? If you like to be challenged, does your job challenge you? If you like meeting new people, does your job enable you to do so?

Another aspect to consider is, do the company, your manager and your immediate work colleagues share similar values to you? You can be good at your job and find your work interesting but if you are asked to work in contrary to your core values and beliefs, you are unlikely to derive a lot of job satisfaction.

In fact, job dissatisfaction can be a primary cause of stress.

As a manager or leader of people, what can you do to facilitate high levels of job satisfaction among your people?

It begins of course, by recruiting the right people. Hiring people with the right skill sets but also, people who share the values and attitudes that are consistent with your working environment. In many cases, there is the opportunity to adjust the job content among team members to ensure both optimum performance and job interest. Are you playing to the strengths within your team? There is also the opportunity to understand people's values and attitudes and to create an environment where these are broadly matched - if you have hired the right people in the first place. Job satisfaction will also be influenced by many of the other motivating and de-motivating factors that we will look at in this series.

In short, creating high levels of job satisfaction will generally come down to three core leadership actions:

1. Hiring the right people.

2. Creating workflows that play to their strengths.

3. Establishing and maintaining an open and honest communication channel with your people.

Simon Cooper heads up the Experiential Learning Centre and is the author of the best selling leadership development book, Brilliant Leader.

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