Leadership Theories on Motivation and Satisfaction Essay

Motivation is usually defined as an inner move, which helps people to do things. Motivation can increase productivity level in several times and making people motivated is one of the most important skills of a good leader.

Statistics shows that highly motivated workers can produce up to 15 per cent more goods and services under the same work conditions as their co-workers. So, creating right motivation along people is very important for any leader. Motivation of others must be based on the understanding of their needs and desires. Motivation provides intensity and persistence at the work place. It also includes strong desire to achieve goals. Job satisfaction is a pleasure people get from accomplishing their work. Right motivation helps to develop higher performance at the work place and helps to achieve employees satisfaction with their jobs. Different motivation theories have been developed in order to achieve higher motivation among employees. There are four types of motivation theories. They are: need theories, individual difference theories, cognitive theories and situational approach.

Need theories are based on the idea that better accomplishing of the group goals can be achieved when group needs correspond to the individual needs of the workers. These theories appeal to the inner state of discomfort or dissatisfaction individuals want to change. When using these theories good leaders can achieve their goals by identifying and appeasing inner needs of their employees. Need theories are based on different hierarchies of needs, dividing needs according to their importance. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs places physiological needs on the lowest stage. Physiological needs are followed by the needs of safety, social needs, self-esteem and self-actualization.

Alderfer proposes three-step hierarchy, which consists of existence, relatedness and growth stages. Good leaders should do everything possible in order to meet the needs of the lower levels of the hierarchy of needs.

Another way to increase motivation and satisfaction is using individual differences. Good leaders should take into account personal traits of their potential employees when they hire them. This will help to avoid problems in the future. This means that good leaders should choose people with right motivation and value system suitable for their organization. David McClelland proposes the following characteristics, necessary for individuals: achievement need, need for power and need for affiliation.

The third type of motivation theories, called cognitive theories centers on setting the right goals. Adherents of these type of theories state that right goals produce right motivation. Specialists state the goals should be specific and difficult but acceptable in order to produce the right motivation. They also state that goal commitment is very important for the right motivation. Good leaders can influence the accomplishments of goals by high expectations from their employees. Goal setting becomes the central point of cognitive motivation theories. Expectance theory, which belongs to the group of cognitive theories, states that people will perform successful if three conditions, such as expectance, instrumentality and valence, are presented. Expectance in this case means that person should be sure that his or her actions will influence the situation. Instrumentality is an anticipation of reward and valence means that this reward is important for the person. The core point of expectancy theory is a belief that people are highly motivated when they know that they can accomplish the task, can do it and know that the reward they get for it is important for them. Equity theory centers on equality of effort and reward each individual achieves for his performance. Adherents of this theory state that equality is a necessary factor, which has a great influence on personal motivation. People are able to work productively only if they know that two variables, which show the division of results, are adequate. These variables are outcomes and pay. People make their judgments about equality by comparing their pay and outcome with those of other employers and if they see that the division is fair, they get higher motivation. Self-efficiency theories are based on the assumption that personal belief in the ability or inability to accomplish the task is the main factor, which influences motivation. Researches state that people who are sure that they can accomplish the task put more effort to achieve this goal. Good leader can gain higher motivation by raising self-esteem of their employees. All cognitive theories are based on the belief that there is a direct link between reward and personal motivation and by changing the reward leaders can influence motivation.

Situational approaches are based on operant principles, which help to increase motivation and performance. These theories center on the changes of the surrounding, not an individuals. Adherents of these theories believe that it is easier to change the situation than an individual. They turn to restructuring of the work process in order to increase motivation.

Job satisfaction is one of the factors of the successful production. Satisfied workers help to create healthy and productive surrounding at the workplace and reduce the level of stress in the organization. There are several theories, which explain the nature of job satisfaction. Affectivity theory is based on the idea that all people tend to react to stimuli in a consistent emotional manner. This manner can be either positive or negative. Statistics shows that leaders can hardly influence extremely positive or extremely negative attitudes. Herzberg proposed his own two-factor theory of job satisfaction. Its two main components are motivators, which are responsible for the satisfaction person gets from work, and hygiene factors, which are responsible for dissatisfaction with work. Key factor, which can increase the efforts of the employees according to this theory is satisfying hygiene factors and maximizing motivation. Organizational justice theory is based on the opinion that people can work effectively and get pleasure from their work only if treated justly. Organizational justice theory consists of three components, which are international justice, distributive justice and procedural justice.

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