A few years ago, a funny video was diffused on the Internet, in the events of the Reebok advertising. It presented a new kind of trendy management: in order to “motivate” his employees and to get better results, a CEO was using an original tool: Terry Tate, the office line backer!
Running in the office, threatening lazy people, beating up sometimes those who lean or take a too long break for coffee, Mister Tate was presented as THE solution to increase profits and create a great atmosphere of efficient work in the company.
Moreover the comic aspect of this ad and the way it promoted the Reebok label, it highlighted not only a reality but also one of the most important current issues of todays managers: How to motivate employees and get the best from them?
Reward is not a recent preoccupation in management: a hundred years ago, Henry Gantt was already presenting this motivator as much more efficient than punishment in a work context. No doubt that he would have laughed in front of a Terry Tate and immediately rejected the hypothesis of a line-backer as a way to raise productivity in any structure.
The carrot and stick method has been used during a very long time by many big companies to motivate troops thanks to a simple scheme, easy to understand by anybody: each result bring an equal reward in money, better results leads then to higher profits not only for the company but also for people who succeeded in their work.
However many studies showed this way of manage teams to be totally useless:
According to Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory( 1959), wages are more acting on global hygiene of people than on motivation. And Maslow placed wages relatively low down the list of motivators in his famous pyramid of needs (1943).
According to the modern research, one of the key ways to keep people motivated is only a high level of trust in the management policy of the company. Indeed, better than high wages or a lot of perks, showing your team that you believe in them by giving more autonomy can create a climate of efficient work and awake the desire in each employee to give the best of himself to the company.
The article finally highlights the importance of feedbacks, useful not only to gather and solve problems around a table but also to recognize the work of all the employees and congratulate them in front of the others. That’s the way a manager needs to motivate his troops and a much more efficient one than a Terry Tate or any advantage in money.
Thibaud Réquédat - English track - Group B