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Employee Motivation

Ways to boost employee morale using effective leadership and coaching skills

Date : 15/02/2017


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Uploaded by : Shayan
Uploaded on : 15/02/2017
Subject : Psychology

An important part of Cognitive behavior management is to understand the employee in their social and cultural contexts. The aim of understanding employee responses to particular situations via the CBM (Cognitive Behavior modification) model enables managers and coaches to create strategies geared towards organizational success. However, the main problem arises when organizations and employees display unwillingness and a lack of commitment to certain processes as is often the case: change is a difficult process.

In this regard, several coaches are employing behavioral and cognitive-behavioral techniques as parts of their executive training methods. Nonetheless, as opined by Kampa-Kokesch and Anderson (2001), there are certain problems with this method such as the lack of efficacy tests and their applications in various environments CITATION Mar l 4105 (Ducharme).

Hence, this text will observe the necessary tools needed to make certain assessment processes work with effective leadership in various situations. The aim is to find ways to boost employee motivation with CBM and in different contexts.

Coaching and Leadership in play.

It is imperative to grasp the connotation of leadership in its full context, in order to handle the task of mentorship-of employees. A clear reason is because leaders are the forerunners of any inspirational drive that may exist within the confines of any organization, based on the roles they exhibit. A major study carried out regarding the Immunity to Change (ITC) was aimed at understanding awareness as a leader. It claims that the pattern of an apropos leadership develops once the particular category of leadership is identified in this case, the list includes self-efficacy, self-awareness, leader identity and leadership knowledge, skills and competencies. CITATION Jon15 l 4105 (Jonathan Reams, International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching & Mentoring, 2015). This research was conducted on the basis of a transformative learning theory and is related to the Developing Your Leadership (DYL) program that emphasizes: focus on yourself, followed by the focus on people and finally with the organization CITATION Jul15 l 4105 (Juliane Reams, 2015).

Goleman along with Kegan (and colleagues) was able to associate a great deal of importance of emotional behaviour with the art of leading, under ITC.CITATION Jon p 17-18 l 4105 (Jonathan Reams, International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching & Mentoring, pp. 17-18). These emotions are connected with the way a leader is aware of themselves and hence able to influence change. Likewise, Markus s analysis was able to elucidate how ITC helped in improving goal achievement for participants. CITATION Jon p 18 l 4105 (Jonathan Reams, International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching & Mentoring, p. 18) The primary methods employed were the use of questionnaires and interviews, with the intention of nailing out ITC related details and having a detailed analysis to corroborate the results of the experiment. Moreover, the findings proved that leaders needed to realize their roles as proactive authority figures rather than being reactive to the organization that surrounds them. Their ability to influence and control was never present as long as they were under the overwhelming nature of the work, people surrounding them and the various social norms fear of what people might think, responsibility of maintaining a certain social stature, fear of failing, etc. Hence, ITC helped them manoeuver their mindsets into a more calm, relaxed and proactive nature that helped them realize their fears and pushed them forward in a more motivated mindset.CITATION Jon p 18-20 l 4105 (Jonathan Reams, International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching & Mentoring, pp. 18-20). Therefore, the study highlights the need to synergize internally before going out to motivate the rest. A key understanding of this is required, since this helps establish (for the leader) his role and purpose in order to function effectively.

At the same time, in order to get work done and have employees in line with the visions of the leader, it is mandatory for a leader to be the builder of relationships that comes across as honest and genuine. Not only does this help in building employee loyalty, but also creates a pool of strong support during harsh times from the stated employee CITATION Ker10 l 4105 (Bu, 2010). According to Michael Wakefield, there will be times when the leader has to be the bearer of bad news (for example, on things like downsizing or benefit cut announcements). It is exactly at that time that the day in and day out efforts in building those emotional bonds with the employees help where the latter doesn t just simply turn away but shares a joint vision of resolution. CITATION Kar10 l 4105 (Renn, 2010) Hence, even in times of change, this very leadership quality helps to maintain equilibrium.

On the other hand, once the leader is more self-aware and emotionally connected, the next major step is to understand mentoring or coaching. The way mentorship is undertaken will define the very actions of the workforce. At the same time, it will determine whether the stated employee will be aligned with the company s culture i.e. has the coaching method enabled him/her to share the company s perspective? For example, the two terms: positive organizational behaviour (POB) and positive organizational scholarship (POS), are concepts used to define the employees connection with the company along with the intentions for acting in a joint interest i.e. the overall benefit of the company. CITATION Pam15 l 4105 (Pam Kennett, 2015). A successful coach is able to bring about such attitudes from the very employees in discussion.

Consequently, work done on the IPA (Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis) is highly regarded as one of the best sources to study the art of coaching, since it observes that talent based on a variety of subjects involved and their life patterns. The qualitative analysis not only allows the subjects to voice their opinions but does so while making sure that their ideas logically fit into the theories of human psychology and common sense. Participants of this research were grouped into homogeneous settings (mainly based on their working areas) and were interviewed thoroughly. After transcribing these interviews and analyzing them in detail, several key points were noted CITATION Pam151 l 4105 (Kennett, Methodology, 2015).

The positivity of mentorship was the key element, as the participants were able to draw on the extensive feedback from mentors that allowed them to discover and understand themselves much more. Secondly, the feeling of satisfaction resulted, as mentorship dissipated any confusion over the roles of these participants at their workplaces. Thirdly-and the most important finding-was the association of the company s ideologies with these participants once they were coached and explained the reasoning behind the everyday operations they performed, they were able to bring forth more contribution as a result. With all the mentorship received, employees understand their self-worth, their skill-set and the related importance of these skills which reinforces the purpose of showing up for work every day. CITATION Pam l 4105 (Kennett, Figure 1: Meaning making through mentoring)

Overall, it shows that once the role as a leader is clearly established and once the leader is in a complete state of awareness, the next step is to analyze coaching. Furthermore, with the aforementioned benefits of coaching that organizations experience, it is imperative to choose the appropriate methods for mentoring. Hence, proper channels of coaching and leadership are needed in order to initiate the right kind of employee motivation.

Focus Areas

Once the foundation of the very essence of coaching is established, the next step is towards having the leaders use a combination of motivational jargon and activities to assist the related employee base. A key tool here is the involvement of workers in line with the companies goals and priorities. An example here is of the company named Cardo which was a Sweden based industrial group that ran a leadership development program only the return they got from it was 10-24 times the cost of the entire workshop CITATION Mic09 l 4105 (Finnstrom, 2009). The idea was simple, put in effect by Aru Anita Hebrand (senior vice president of HR) and Per-Olof Nyquist (head of organizational development), and it was to develop a central idea-that would be followed by managers at all levels-based on four main pillars this program was called EMP (executive management program)CITATION Mic09 p 4-5 l 4105 (Finnstrom, 2009, pp. 4-5). Firstly, the Goal Setting and Self-Managed Learning aimed at the engagement of all employees through a series of assessments that gauged their feelings and suggestions towards how the company procedures were run. These were then scrutinized by the upper management in order to get more awareness on the various positions the employees had regarding company matters. Secondly, there were the quarterly In-Person Learning Modules . These focused on topics like teamwork, leading the organization, psychological commitment (among others). This was the type of learning that provided employees with tools where they could reflect on some theories, frameworks and examples to build up themselves (as better employees) and also their colleagues and managers. The third phase involved Action Learning . This was where participants were given different problems and they had to find strategic breakthroughs through careful planning and with all the hindrances in mind. There were mainly two 90 day projects to find virtual solutions based on the organizations struggles. Conclusively, in terms of raising awareness, Cardo believed that it had achieved 80% of its target with the continuation of such practices. Lastly, the reflection and connection activity was something practised in between learning modules. Here, the coaches pushed the participants to open up about their personal assessment experiences and as what they thought about the EMP program. This sort of reflection allowed the participants to feel valued, encouraged, committed and also had them feel a sense of shared responsibility with regards to the company culture, as explained by Maria Bergving (Cardo s senior vice president of communications)CITATION Kar10 p 6 l 4105 (Renn, 2010, p. 6).

Not only did this help Cardo to improve employee productivity, but the sense of employee motivation and desire to do better went off the charts. As an icing to the cake, the company decided to launch yet another program called Strategic Fitness Process (SFP) . This program focused on elaborating details about the company s true view point of success, its goals and ideas to get to these goals. These items were then presented to the employees to review and share their opinions about it. It was a great way for the upper management to get insights on the criticism the employees had for their systems, their honest thoughts and recommended solutions. This was a way for the company to learn a lot form its workforce however, the main benefit came in the shape of improved performance and increased motivation from the employee side-this was the hopeful outcome as well.CITATION Kar10 p 7 l 4105 (Renn, 2010, p. 7)

There is also the problem of Social Identity . This happens when the employees of any organization would group certain members of that organization into categories such as the dominant group, the skilled group, the vulnerable group, etc. These classifications are dangerous at best, since this kind of characterization is done in mostly a negative way rather than positive for example, classifying supervisors as superior and thus having the inability to speak to them. The action that leaders can take (in this regard) is to be more aware of such situations via regular feedback or even simple techniques such as journaling (where the managers would create a journal of how various people within the company reacted to them and how such behaviours were changing over time. Another method involves the role reversal technique, developed by Stacy Blake-Beard, where the leaders were put in odd situations and places, and were then put through the experience of feeling like the odd one out. Such kinds of coaching strategies are imperative for leaders in order to realize their aura when they walk across the room from their workforce. This understanding, in effect, has the primary purpose of changing leaders attitudes in a way that would give rise to an open climate and common ground within the company. This would be where their image comes to a point where the employees start to relax and feel comfortable with it. Such kind of practice is another way to push employee motivation CITATION Mar10 l 4105 (Ernst, 2010).

Cross-Cultural and the Organizational Culture Occurrences

Another key to coaching or inspiring employees lies with understanding them from their boots. A large influencer of the employee morale would be the organizational culture. Organizational culture mainly relates to the styles, habits and attitudes of the employees that shape up, not because of how their personalities are but because of how the organization (they are in) behaves around them. It is something that evolves and changes as the responses of the leaders and the workforce changes-with regards to different work-related ideologies and practices. In this regard, Weick (1995) and Follett (1924) have argued that the individuals subjective views are very crucial and can t be forced to change in fact their feelings are what create an organizational culture-where they would then thrive or fail. This theory is called Cognitive Behavior Modification (CBM) CITATION Dav10 l 4105 (Boan, Sensemaking and Enactment, 2010)

CBM further combines functional analysis where the employee is viewed in light of his/her interaction with the surrounding environment and the other individual(s) involved. This gives a more clear view of how their responses would be in a realistic situation. Latham and Heslin (2003) corroborate the importance of functional analysis in CBM as well as the overall underlying importance of the system in organizational coaching platforms. Senge (1990), however, contends that the system around individuals is what ultimately gives rise to various feeling. Nonetheless, CBM combines his theory along with the personalities of employees (and their abilities to respond in various situations) in order to give us an overall understanding of the organizational behaviours. CITATION Dav10 p 54 l 4105 (Boan, Sensemaking and Enactment, 2010, p. 54).

Under the CBM model, various processes are undertaken in order to ensure the company s success. Firstly, a model is developed where the subjects are understood in their natural states i.e. the way they behave normally and the way they perceive situations around them. Secondly, the process of reframing takes place where the client is informed (by the consultants) of the ways the workforce would respond to different situations (based on the initial assessments). Afterwards, the participants are observed functionally, in light of various situations. Finally, a plan is determined, based on these observations, which would combine OBM (organizational behavior management) and CBM analysis. This plan aims at transforming the way leaders behave so as to maintain a culture of cooperation and harmony. Here, an understanding of the processes to derive employee motivation are derived from a detailed analysis that contributes in the overall (mental) health and well-being of the employee through focus on the foundations of his/her internal emotions/attitudes CITATION Dav101 l 4105 (Boan, Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice & Research, 2010)

Even when we talk about intercultural mixes, there is a lot to be discussed. The very idea of a globalized world automatically opens the door to an interaction with other cultures that may be involved in various parts of the business (suppliers, managers, subordinates and even customers). When dealing with different cultures, it becomes crucial not to go with the various stereotypes set for them. Another example is when, on odd occasions, we might react to some of their unique habits with preconceived notions of anger and withdrawal this can be a problem CITATION Sto l 4105 (Storti (1990). Furthermore, the history, communication, power-distance and other items work differently in different cultures, causing a natural gap when it comes to cross-cultural interactions.

This is where trust comes in and a degree if that has to be invested by all individuals involved in order to aspire for company s success. According to Ting-Toomey, trustworthy individuals are those who understand, learn and manage the cultural expectations of any place they become a part of hence, building trust is an art, not an instinct CITATION ALL05 l 4105 (OSLAND, 2005). Several other solutions exist in dealing with cultural shifts including: framing a situation (understanding and modifying opinions about surrounding cultures), making attributions (understanding the individual without judgements), selecting a scri pt (Ensuring you explain to the other individual the reasoning behind your habits and actions)CITATION ALL05 p 127-129 l 4105 (OSLAND, 2005, pp. 127-129).

Once a clear understanding of the company s culture (organizational or cross-cultural) is understood, only then can the leaders find ways of coaching employees towards a central goal of shared ambition. Therefore, the ideas in this section clearly point to understanding the base (or the foundations) of the employees perceptions and to build on them to ensure that they are in line with companies objectives. Constant modification and assessment of these perceptions is needed on an on-going basis as well.


Cognitive behavioural techniques promise to develop high functioning executives who in turn will develop an inspired lineup of employees. CITATION Dav101 p 221 l 4105 (Boan, Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice & Research, 2010, p. 221). Limitations of CBM include simplicity issues however, the advantages triumph.


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(2010). Finding Yourself. In M. N. Ernst, Leadership in Action (pp. 14-18).

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