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Special Winning Attitude Team?

At a previous employer, one of our project teams was in crisis. They had a number of issues and dependencies that needed to be resolved quickly. So the project manager decided to establish a cross-project SWAT team to focus on getting this work done. It’s not an unusual move, especially when there are a lot of project interdependencies. But in this case, the manager who established the team insisted that the acronym stood for “Special Winning Attitude Team”. When I read the explanation in an email, I nearly choked. It’s unlikely that you’ll find a better demotivational tool for software developers than a phony exuberant name like this. It’s a transparent attempt to spark enthusiasm. And, in this particular organization, the team was already pretty demoralized, which made it even worse.

Which brings me to an article I just read: Why Your Employees Are Losing Motivation. Here’s the first paragraph:

Most companies have it all wrong. They don’t have to motivate their employees. They have to stop demotivating them.

It goes on to describe how employees start a new job with great enthusiasm but in most cases morale sharply declines after their first six months — and continues to deteriorate for years afterward.

How do you keep this from happening? According to the article, management must understand the three sets of goals that the great majority of workers seek from their work — and then satisfy those goals:

  • Equity: To be respected and to be treated fairly in areas such as pay, benefits, and job security.
  • Achievement: To be proud of one’s job, accomplishments, and employer.
  • Camaraderie: To have good, productive relationships with fellow employees.

If you’re a manager (or managed) the rest of the article is a good read.

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