Classic management theories and practices put emphasis on the “sticks & carrots” approach. Punishment of bad behaviours without a grain of sympathy or engagement, and compensation by salary only. Based in thinking of employees as production factors, like capital, fuels or machinery, you can’t keep knowledge workers motivated this way. George Langelett answers the question How Do I Keep My Employees Motivated? with the explanation and practice of empathy. No, you won’t be on the soft skills side only. Empathy is different from sympathy, and can be learned to practices step by step in crucial conversations. Every person in your organization desires to be understood and accepted, even if mistakes are made, stress levels are high or involvement of external mentors or professionals is needed. You are the manager and can empathize with each of your employees, and create a better work environment for you and the people that collaborate with you. Though in sync with Dan Pink‘s thoughts on motivation, Langelett takes a different route with lots more attention for the neurological aspects of stress, decision-making and empathy. After five chapters explaining the core message, the author provides a series of appendices with historical backgrounds of each of the major thinkers on management and motivation, recommended titles for further reading, etc. Empathy could be your most important attribute to the work environment these days.
About the author
George Langelett is a professor of management and economics at in Brookings, SD. He teaches classes in management, small business management, human resources management, marketing research, and macroeconomics. He grew up in Thief River Falls, MN, and attended the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, MN, where he earned his BS in marketing. In 2000 he graduated from the University of Nebraska with a PhD in economic. His dissertation focused on human capital formation and economic growth. While in Lincoln, he met his wife, Lara, and has been happily married for twelve years.