Much research and thought has gone into answering the thorny question of what truly motivates people. Although it is generally agreed that intrinsic motivation is more powerful and compelling than extrinsic motivation, dentists as clinicians and leaders often still use external rewards and threats as a way to motivate their team members and patients.
Myth 1—I can motivate people
Not really. People have to motivate themselves. You can't motivate people any more than you can empower them. Employees have to motivate and empower themselves. However, you can set up an environment where they can motivate and empower themselves. The key is knowing how to create the environment for each of your employees.
Myth 2—Money is a good motivator
Not really. Things like money, a nice office, and job security can help people from becoming less motivated, but they usually don't help people become more motivated. A key element is to understand the motivations of each of your employees.
Myth 3—Fear is a damn good motivator
Yes, fear is a great motivator, but only for a very short time. That's why a lot of yelling from the boss won't "light a spark under employees" for very long.
Myth 4—I know what motivates me, so I know what motivates my employees
Again, not really. Different people are motivated by different things. I may be greatly motivated by earning time away from my job to spend more time with my family. You might be motivated by recognition of a job well done. People are not motivated by the same things. Again, a key goal is to understand what motivates each of your employees.
Myth 5—Increased job satisfaction means increased job performance
Research shows this isn't necessarily true. Increased job satisfaction does not necessarily mean increased job performance. If the goals of the organization are not aligned with the goals of employees, then employees aren't effectively working toward the mission of the organization.
By taking these ideas to heart, you should be able to figure out what makes your team motivated, and guide them in the right direction so that the dental practice can thrive.
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