Work at overcoming one's limitations

Work at overcoming one's limitations

 Each individual has set his own standard for performance depending upon that person’s self interest. But a change is possible if the individual is convinced that what is good for the organisation is also good for him. For instance, a boss may tell an employee, “Please attend a seminar because it will be good for us.” Mentally, he would weigh the consequences of attending such a seminar. He would, in general, conclude that such an exercise would add to his bio-data and so improve his marketability. On the other hand, if a suggestion is made he should undertake a week’s fire-fighting course, the reaction is predictable. “I have to attend the course otherwise the boss may get upset. Anyway, this is a course I am not interested in. What’s the use?”

The work-culture in an organisation determines how the employees react to any suggestion. It could be a place where challenges are accepted willingly because the environment is conducive to it.

For those who are in the thick of a battle to meet newer challenges, it is excitement and a joy working towards their goals, however tough these may be. The reason is obvious — they want to excel themselves as they are on an ego satisfaction trip.
This is the big difference between self-motivation and the one where the individual is forced to work despite his misgivings. In such a case, one could be sure that there is no wholehearted commitment to the task on hand. He will simply do what he is told.
It is the mental barrier that is the bottleneck to one’s own capabilities. If an individual is convinced, rightly or wrongly, that he is capable of so much and not beyond it, nothing much can be done to change it except through repeated counselling and through peer pressure. Once he is prepared to overcome his own standard of performance, in whatever field, that individual, through training and motivation, is able to perform much better. Such is the power of persuasion, not coercion.
Once a person achieves a higher standard, say, he can turnout 100 pieces of production instead of 80 pieces per hour through improved method and through self motivation, he can be expected to perform even better.

However, a word of caution is in order. The management cannot expect an individual to go on improving day after day until he reaches a very high level of performance, if at all he can. There is a plateauing of performance beyond which even incremental improvement becomes very difficult. Moreover, the individual is worried that he may not be able to continuously improve due to various constraints.
And, more importantly, he has every right to expect something in return for all the improvement he has done. If there were a labour union, it would put brakes on individuals to improve. It would think any productivity improvement is a matter of discussion between the management and the labour union and that a management unilaterally has no business asking an employee to work beyond a set of productivity norms already agreed upon.  
Thus, any improvement plan may have to be worked out in cooperation with affected individual or labour union.

To make a person rise above his own limitations, real or imagined, is not easy. He has to be convinced that it is possible to do so and should be shown how he can do it. The tools for such an improvement have to be provided and he has to be trained to apply these. That is not all — there has to be an incentive for trying to achieve a better performance.
Constant encouragement is needed to see that the person carries on bravely despite setbacks and failures. The colleagues in any department should have a helpful attitude so that the person, trying to excel himself, is not isolated nor becomes a butt of ridicule or, in extreme cases, ostracism.

The person who has succeeded after a string of failures is a happy and satisfied man. A mere pat on the back for a job well done is sufficient to encourage that person though monetary, gift in cash or kind or an increment, and promotion as an indication of management’s appreciation can serve as powerful motivators not only for that individual but for others.

An organisation consists of ordinary employees with a sprinkling of bright ones. The challenge before the management is to motivate the employees, targeting the average ones, so that they rise above their own self imposed limitations.
Then only the full potential of all the employees is harnessed for the good of the organisation. It is amazing how ordinary people can do uncommon things when they have the right motivation. It is this potential of employees waiting to be tapped by a responsive management who see the people as real assets.
The people should share profits and receive awards in recognition of their efforts to make the organization grow from strength to strength.

The writer is Consultant  Q & M

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