The globalization of business and the intense competitive pressures emerging in the global market are influencing organizations to focus on people in a bid to gain the greatest competitive edge. While the products and services can be replicated, the collective intelligence of employees is unique to an organization whereby, unleashing the potential of people is vital to business or organization success (Robinson and Robinson, 1998, p.5).
In addition, motivation in individuals has become one of the key aspects in most organizations and therefore, a core competency of leadership (Latham, 2007, p.4). The leaders have the responsibilities of determining the areas, which if acted upon will generate “breakthrough performance” and also, determine the necessary actions required of people to generate a “breakthrough” (Latham, 2007, p.4).
Leadership also is expected to provide an environment where the very best people can do their very best work. Generally, leadership in organizations can galvanize and inspire individuals to exert effort; to commit to and persist in the pursuit of an organization’s values or goals, and therefore, certain questions become important for any organizational leadership to ask, such as: do the keys to unlocking motivation lie within the personal characteristics of an individual?
How are individuals’ beliefs, attitudes, and motivation related? What relationship exists between an individual’s job satisfaction and job performance? What importance does a person have on job performance and should we be concerned with a person’s moods and emotions? Do the keys to unlocking employee motivation lie within the environment and do those factors external to a person act as inducements for particular actions? And to what extend do organizational procedures, processes and systems affect a person’s feelings of trust and fairness and hence their subsequent behaviors? (Latham, 2007, p.5-6). Indeed, a positively motivated individual in any job will experience job satisfaction and this will lead to high performance by the individual.
Individuals are unique in terms of their skills, abilities, personalities, perception, attitudes, emotions, and ethics. Individual differences have posed challenges to managers where working with people who possess a multitude of individual characteristics becomes challenging (Nelson and Quick, 2007, p.66). Attitudes are patterns of feelings, beliefs, and behavioral tendencies directed toward specific people, groups, ideas, issues, or objects and that, attitudes have both affective, cognitive, and behavioral components (Cengage Learning, n.d, p.62).
Personality is defined as a relatively stable set of characteristics that influence an individual’s behavior. Both genetic and environmental, influence an individual’s personality. Factors such as; family influences, cultural influences, educational influences, and other environmental forces shape personality (Nelson and Quick, 2007, p.68).
Group norms and Behaviors
Group norms are the standards by which a group uses to evaluate the behavior of its members and the norms may be written, unwritten, verbalized or not verbalized, implicit or explicit (Nelson and Quick, 2007, p.202). Once the group members have understood the norms, the norms can be effective in influencing behavior. Norms specify what members of a group should do and what they should not do (Nelson and Quick, 2007, p.202).
Norms in a group may evolve informally or unconsciously within a group or may arise in response to challenges. Performance norms are among the most important group norms in an organization and may include cooperative standards within teams that lead to members working for mutual benefit and which in turn facilitate team performance (Nelson and Quick, 2007, p.202).
Group cohesion is the “interpersonal glue” that makes members of a group stick together. Group cohesion can enhance job satisfaction for the members and also improve productivity and that, highly cohesive groups can control and manage membership better (Nelson and Quick, 2007, p.203). Also, highly cohesive groups are strongly motivated to maintain good, close relationships among the members which in turn result in high performance (Nelson and Quick, 2007, p.203).
Enhancing group performance
For any team to be effective and to function well, they need to build strong work relations founded on the principles that; teammates don’t have to be the best friends, the need for understanding among the members, acceptance of team members’ differences, respect for each team member’s unique contribution, the need for courtesy and mutual accountability (MacMillan, 2001, p.282). Any path to high performance leads through several distinct stages of team development and each is characterized by differing amounts of skill and willingness on the part of team members (MacMillan, 2001, p.283).
Teams like organisms need healthy climates in which they can grow and thrive. The group needs to establish the nature and scope of the team’s mission, the performance problems, and also the degree of interdependence and the need for coordination Any path to high performance leads through several distinct stages of team development, and each is characterized by differing amounts of skill and willingness on the part of team members (MacMillan, 2001, p.285).
Communication is the very means of cooperation in any group or organization. That managing any differences among people of a group or organization is achieved through effective communication (MacMillan, 2001, p.282).
Members should use communication to value and encourage the input of everyone in discussions, members need to be active listeners and make effective use of the creative tools to surface the best ideas, encourage constructive criticism and questioning of ideas, listen to each other with respect and courtesy, clearly defined process for handling conflict and that everyone follows it, never attack each other’s personality and create a positive attitude and interpersonal relation to others Any path to high performance leads through several distinct stages of team development and each is characterized by differing amounts of skill and willingness on the part of team members (MacMillan, 2001, p.172-173).
Latham, G.P. (2007). Work motivation: history, theory, research, and practice. CA, SAGE. Web.
MacMillan, P. (2001). The Performance Factor: Unlocking the Secrets of Teamwork. TN, B&H Publishing Group. Web.
Nelson, D.L. and Quick, J.C. (2007). Understanding Organizational Behavior. OH, Cengage Learning EMEA. Web.
Robinson, D.G. and Robinson, J.C. (1998). Moving from training to performance: a practical guidebook. CA, Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Web.