Communication: The Key to Unlocking Employees’ Motivational Drive
By Dinah Daniels 

The most important thing any CEO or manager can do is to figure out how to motivate the people who impact the bottom line.  Workers who have a sense of fulfillment and who derive satisfaction from their work simply work better.

Most managers assume that what motivates them motivates others; that’s one of the biggest mistakes managers make in hiring.

The key to unlocking the motivational needs of employees is recognizing that all businesses must have many different kinds of people in order to work - decision makers, risk-takers, leaders and followers.  Communicating effectively with each of these groups requires a keen awareness by managers and executives alike.  Effective communication – reaching people on the level where they hear most clearly – is the springboard to motivation.

Communication creates a level playing field, a work environment where every personality type thrives equally because they receive clear communication and because they respect each other’s different communication needs.

If this sounds too touchy-feely, consider this: 20 years ago, human resources was primarily gut instinct.  If two job applicants appeared equally qualified, you might hire on the basis of a firm handshake or a person’s sense of humor.

Today things have changed.  The stakes are higher for employers.  The law is very strict about protecting employees, unemployment rates are extremely low and training costs in almost every company are higher than ever.  Managers cannot be cavalier about hiring.  They must use all the tools at their disposal to match the right applicants to positions and to figure out how to effectively communicate with and motivate workers once they are on board.

Communication breakdowns between the creative department and the sales staff, or between the technical department and the front office, are legendary.  It is because the people who work in those departments have very different personality types and communication needs.

The sales stars often are risk takers – demanding, persuasive, competitive, confident and aware of the details but not detail oriented.  The detail-oriented realist with patience and a capacity for daily operations often is the person running the financial side of things.  And the service-oriented worker who thrives on carrying out clear, well-defined instructions is the ideal office assistant.  None of them could perform the others’ jobs, none would want to.  But together they make the most effective team.

The CEO who recognizes the value in every personality type, every communication style and every motivational drive that employees bring to a company is the one who will truly impact the bottom line through the collective “people power” of the organization.

Dinah Daniels is President and Chairman of PI Worldwide, an international management consulting organization headquartered in Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts. Using a proven, proprietary management tool known as the Predictive Index®, as well as a flexible suite of skills-based workshops (the Predictive Leadership Series), PI Worldwide helps companies align individual performance with their specific business goals for improved bottom-line performance, productivity and profitability. Contact Dinah by e-mail: and visit .

Many more articles in Motivation & Retention in The CEO Refresher Archives


Copyright 1999 by Dinah Daniels. All rights reserved.

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