Motivate others and build commitment

January 25, 2020

As mentioned above in my position I don’t have people reporting directly. Nonetheless from my position as technical leader I have an indirect impact on several other employees. Following Frederick Herzberg’s hygiene/motivation theory I can recognize that from this position I can influence some satisfiers factors. At the same time, I have to keep in mind that in Umbrella, dissatisfier or hygiene factors are monitored and managed by line leaders. When I feel someone is losing motivation because of hygiene factors, I have to contact the appointed line leader instead of stepping on someone’s toes.

Assess own ability to motivate others and build commitment to the organisation’s values

One of the strengths of Umbrella are clear values and a strong culture. Values like unity, challenges, trust, innovation and friendship have a close relationship with the motivation factors listed in Frederick Herzberg’s theory.

In the company it is a must to celebrate achievements and give recognition to contributors. It can be done in different ways: an email sent to a group, a blog post on the internal social network or something more formal like a proper celebration event. Personally, I wrote a few brief posts to explain what was done and compliment with whom was part of the effort. In these small pieces I always rewarded the team rather than individuals because I believe this approach is more in line with the company’s values like unity and friendship. While I fully agree with the idea and the positive effects on employee’s morale is objective, at the same time, I believe we don’t have to abuse this practice. Too many “Bravo!”, “Well done” or “Good job” can lead to empty praises, especially if they are given before the deliverable is fully completed.

Assess own ability to motivate others and build commitment to the organisation’s goals

Goal-setting theory of motivation explains that goals direct intentions and actions. They have a pervasive influence on employee behaviour and performance in organisations and management practice (Locke & Latham, 2002). Demanding goals mobilise energy, lead to higher effort, and increase persistent effort and commitment. Individuals who are provided with specific, difficult but attainable goals perform better than those given easy, nonspecific, or no goals at all (Lunenburg, 2011). Software Architects focus on the bigger picture and this allows them to be in a perfect position to explain to colleagues how small deliverables fit into a broad strategic vision, how their work is part of something bigger and how it helps the organisation to reach a strategic objective. Goal-setting theory is based on the assumption that team members have the opportunity to participate and this is achieved by giving them a reasonable degree of independence. Question is how to set a clear goal and how to reach it without micromanaging a team? We can avoid detailed explanations unless they are specifically required. We can ask a team what they think is the best way to solve a challenge rather than telling them how to do it.

The process described above has a positive impact on motivator factors such as responsibility and individual growth. A drawback is that it takes time to be applied and sometimes unfortunately there is not time. Sometimes shortcuts have to be taken to get something done and quickly. A team accepts shortcuts only if they are sporadic exceptions.


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Written by Claudio Maccari . Passionate developer and former windsurfer. You can read more about me here