The Top 7 Things Entrepreneurs Need to Know About Employees

As I work with clients to strengthen their teams and to make their businesses more profitable, I often encounter some serious misunderstandings of human nature. These misunderstandings usually lead business leaders in the wrong direction when they attempt to inspire their employees to perform at a higher level. Fortunately, you can avoid these pitfalls if you understand a few key points about the people you lead.

1) They are not motivated by money alone

In numerous studies conducted over the last fifty or sixty years, researchers have concluded money is not the prime motivator for most people. Yes, people work for money -- but it is not their biggest motivator.

One famous model of behavior ? Maslow's hierarchy of needs ? yields a clue as to why this is true. In summary, Maslow's hierarchy says that all of us have five basic needs (physiological, safety & security, social, esteem, and self-actualization). According to Maslow, "a need once met no longer serves to motivate." If you have your physiological needs met (food, shelter, & clothing), more of the same will not inspire you to work harder.

Employers help people meet their physiological needs with money. More money will not necessarily get people to work harder.

It is true that some people work harder for more money, but many will not. If you want to inspire high-level performance, you've got to dig deeper. You must work to understand what motivates each person on your team.

2) They don't want their worth determined by the number of hours they are at work

I once heard a business owner say, "An entrepreneur is someone who will work 80 hours a week for themselves so that they don't have to work 40 hours a week for someone else." I have found this statement to be very accurate.

Many people believe that what motivates them also motivates others. When it doesn't, they often get frustrated and confused.

Remember that your business is your dream, not your employees' dream. They probably want to do a good job, but they don't want you to evaluate them based on the number of hours they spend in your business. Reward them based on the quality and/or quantity of work they produce. Reward them for the service they provide to customers. Don't use "face time" as a measure of their worth.

3) They want to feel like part of a team

Most people want to be part of something great. Create an environment where people feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves, and they will respond favorably. Reward individual performance, but build the team. Avoid competition within your team at all costs. You want your team competing together to win your business competition. You don't want them fighting each other.

4) They want you to respect them

I've seen many entrepreneurs start a business to avoid an organization or a person who treats them with disrespect. Funny -- I often see these same people treat their employees with disrespect when they become the boss. What happened?

5) They want you to value their opinions

The studies that show money is not a prime motivator also find that people want their supervisor to show appreciation for their contribution at work. Show your appreciation and value their input. Your employees will truly be your greatest asset.

6) They want to make a difference

People like to do things that matter. People need to feel like their contribution helped the team. Show your people how their work made a difference to team results, and you'll likely tap into their internal motivators.

7) They want your business to succeed

Most people realize that they are unemployed if your business fails. They don't want that any more than you do. Listen to them. Learn from their insights. They may not have your monetary investment in the business, but they do have a big stake in your success.

There you have it. Seven things you need to know about employees. As I look back over the article, I see that it begs the question "What about people who don't want to be part of a team?" or "What about the employee who doesn't want to make a difference?" I know they're out there, but I don't believe they represent a majority of the population. If you have an employee who doesn't care, why are they still your employee? Don't waste your time on people who really don't want to contribute. Find someone who does and apply these seven tips to working with them.

Copyright 2005, Guy Harris

You may use this article for electronic distribution if you will include all contact information with live links back to the author. Notification of use is not required, but I would appreciate it. Please contact the author prior to use in printed media.

About the Author:

Guy Harris is the Chief Relationship Officer with Principle Driven Consulting. He helps entrepreneurs, business managers, and other organizational leaders build trust, reduce conflict, and improve team performance. Learn more at http://www.principledriven.com

Guy co-authored "The Behavior Bucks System TM" to help parents reduce stress and conflict with their children. Learn more about this book at http://www.behaviorbucks.com

In The News:


Forbes

Team Building: Minders, Finders, Grinders
Forbes
There is so much chatter out there about how to hire and retain workers (millennials in particular). You could drown in 'good' advice. But one thing is certain: team building is harder than it looks, and harder than people want to admit. In 2014, my ...


Don't Wing It with Team-Building Activities
SHRM
That type of thing worked for some but not for others," said David Lengyel, managing director of Phoenix-based Venture Up, which conducts team-building activities. "Clients were coming back and saying, 'We have 200 people, not 12, and four hours, not ...


Entrepreneur

4 Ways Team-Building Rituals Can Actually Destroy a Team
Entrepreneur
Team-building rituals are meant to strengthen a company culture, but they may in fact be doing the opposite. In a study published in the National Library of Medicine, researchers sought to find out the overall effects that team-building rituals have on ...


Forbes

Is It Still Considered 'Team Building' If They Force You To Participate?
Forbes
We waste hours on this stuff. People even call in sick to avoid the "team-building" events. Our HR Director is gung-ho but she doesn't listen. I have tried to tell her that our work is interesting enough to keep us "engaged" (her favorite word) and we ...


Quartz

The team-building rituals that companies love can actually tear workers apart
Quartz
If you've ever lost a glove somewhere on the streets of New York City, there's a chance it's found an unusual second life at the New York headquarters of OXO—the global housewares manufacturer. Enter the company's open loft-style dining hall, and you ...


NCAA.com

Women's volleyball: Unique team building exercises help jump-start VCU's season
NCAA.com
The Rams from Richmond, fresh off a 3-0 showing at their own VCU Invitational this past weekend that included a 3-0 sweep of Northwestern (the program's first win against a Big Ten school), are among the nation's top teams in blocking (holding a 174-88 ...


The Journal Pioneer

Road trip to Yarmouth good for Caps' team-building - coach
The Journal Pioneer
Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals Kallum Muirhead, 10, carries the puck across the line last season. He had a powerplay goal and an assist in the Caps only game so far this season, a 4-3 loss to Woodstock Slammers last weekend.


New Scientist

The NHS is using a chatbot to do tedious corporate team-building ...
New Scientist
The UK's National Health Service and 10 big firms are experimenting with CoachBot, which replaces "coaching and development" staff with an automated ...

and more »

MyCentralJersey.com

Metuchen Proving Ground Team Building Challenge was 'awesome to witness'
MyCentralJersey.com
Metuchen High School's inaugural Proving Ground Team Building Challenge, of which The Marisa Tufaro Foundation was a beneficiary, was such a resounding success that Board of Education member Justin Manley hopes the event will grow in the future.


KETV Omaha

High school freshmen conquer obstacles to build team spirit
KETV Omaha
A sort of rite of passage, the ROPES course is an annual team-building exercise for freshmen at Papillion-La Vista South High School. It is a tradition 13 years strong, in which freshman take on physical and mental challenges, getting to know each ...

Google News

Consensus: The Right Team Decision Strategy?

Consensus is the appropriate decision strategy for the most important... Read More

Team Work - A Challenge of Character

Over the years there has been much ado about team... Read More

A Team That Gleamed

Too many techies get a bad rap for lacking teamwork... Read More

Resolving Workplace Conflict: 4 Ways to a Win-Win Solution

The effects of conflict in the workplace are widespread and... Read More

The 3 Secrets of Team Motivation

Are workers telling the truth when they say they are... Read More

Teamwork, Rowing, & Paddles

Effective and sustainable teambuilding is necessary in today's marketplace where... Read More

5 Reason Why Team Has A 4 Figure Income

You are new to Internet Marketing, you join one Affiliate... Read More

What Every Manager, Parent, and Teacher Should Know About How to Unify Employees, Families, & Youth

Project Head Start has been successful not only for the... Read More

How Leaders Unlock Potential in Teams

Leaders are faced with unlocking the potential in the people... Read More

Manage Expectations to Reduce Everyday Frustrations

Just today my partner Russ and I sat down to... Read More

Nine Ways to Contribute to Project Team Success

The world of work has changed. It used to be... Read More

Franchisor Award Programs; Ideas and Innovation

Franchisors should also be heavy on the award side of... Read More

Effective Team Building For Organizational Success

"Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common... Read More

Motivate People with Feedback

Someone once said - "Feedback is the breakfast of champions."... Read More

Team Building Part 2: Honesty is the Key!

The second in a series of 2 articles giving a... Read More

WIIFM - Making the Whats In It for Me? Question Work for You

In the constantly changing world of Call Centers, asking agents... Read More

Having Trouble Motivating Others? Try WIIFM

Recently my fourteen-year old son Matt dressed up as Santa... Read More

Checklist for High Performing Teams

Why do some teams perform well while others struggle? How... Read More

7 Key Dimensions of High Performance Teams

7 Key Dimensions of High Performance Teams We can always... Read More

Collaboration Software - Building an Office Without Walls

The rise of the internet has given businesses a new... Read More

How the P.R.I.D.E. Team Changed my Call Center

Several years ago I took an assignment as a Manager... Read More

The Top 7 Things Entrepreneurs Need to Know About Employees

As I work with clients to strengthen their teams and... Read More

What College Taught Me About Teamwork Training

I declared a Communications Major two years into school, after... Read More

How to Align Your Team through Change

Eight Principles for Purposeful AlignmentEffective teamwork requires individual members of... Read More

People Are The Heart Of Your Organization

Do you let your people express their thoughts about the... Read More