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February 2015

Missing the Point on Motivation

When it comes to improving employee engagement, motivation expert Susan Fowler believes that leaders are spending too much time trying to fix disengagement after it occurs instead of questioning approaches to motivation that may have led to it in the first place.

In working with leaders, Fowler stresses not to wait until people have become disengaged before taking action. Instead, begin at the source of people's engagement journey: their personal appraisal of their work environment. Recognize that on a daily basis, people are appraising their workplace and coming to conclusions on whether they feel safe, positive, and optimistic about the environment, or threatened, unsure, or fearful. These appraisals lead to conclusions about well-being, intentions, and subsequent behavior.

"A leader's role is to help people manage their appraisal process now so that people get on the path to employee work passion rather than the road to disengagement," explains Fowler. "Every day is an opportunity for leaders to help individuals shift their motivational outlooks. Day-to-day motivation holds the key to long-term engagement."

According to Fowler, a primary reason engagement initiatives haven't been as successful as hoped is that leaders do not understand the role motivation plays in the engagement process.

Explore the February 2015 Issue of Ignite!

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