In Daniel Pink’s best selling book Drive, he describes three things required to motivate today’s employees. My guess is that they are equally valid for the volunteers who work so hard in our congregations. They are autonomy, mastery and purpose.
As managers and leaders, do we encourage the use of creativity within congregational staffs and volunteers? Or, do we attempt to control creativity with fairly rigid supervisory styles? If we are doing the latter, we are de-motivating employees.
A managerial challenge in the 21st century is figuring out ways to give people increasing amounts of autonomy and freedom to do the job the way they want to do it while insuring that they are also accountable to the objectives and strategies of the organization. 3M provides a classic example of how autonomy can pay off. They give their technical people 15% of their work time to pursue individual projects. The ubiquitous “post-its” were invented by one employee during his creative time. Can we give our staff and volunteers comparable freedom to pursue individual projects that will benefit the congregation as a whole?
Most of us what to become masters of what we do. Helping employees and volunteers to develop mastery of their roles is an important part of managing. To achieve mastery, do they need continuing education, better technology resources or what? Whatever they need, if we want them to grow more skilled, we need to help them get it.
When an employee or volunteer sees his/her work as contributing to a greater good, their sense of purpose will translate into a more highly motivated person. As managers, we need to connect employees to the greater purpose for which they work. Young parents will not join a congregation if they see a dirty or unsafe building. The cleaning and maintenance staff needs to understand that their good work leads to the growth of the congregation.
Autonomy, mastery and purpose—-three keys to motivating today’s employees.