Management vs Motivation

For this article, I thought I would look at how Management can complement but also deter motivation and bring to your attention some key areas to consider.

I’ve combined Douglas McGregor theory on human motivation which describes two contrasting models of workforce motivation and Extrinsic/Intrinsic motivators.

To start, looking at McGeror’s theory. Simple in its delivery but look how it illustrates two opposing sets of assumptions underlining management policies and practices, can you see these within your own workplace:

Theory ‘X’ naturally exhibit:

  1. Inherent dislike of work
  2. Lack of ambition
  3. Prefer to be directed
  4. Avoid responsibility

Coercion, direction, punishment, monetary rewards needed to meet objectives

Theory ‘X’ managers typically use:

  1. Time-keeping and close supervision
  2. 3rd party quality control (Gets another person to check your work rather than allowing you to check it yourself)
  3. Narrowly-defined jobs & precise, legalistic job descriptions

I find such managers may be autocratic, judgmental & over-bearing, and essentially ‘Controlling’. Companies/organisations with such assumptions are likely to be rigid and unresponsive to customer needs.

Theory ‘Y’ naturally exhibit:

  1. Self-direction in serving objectives to which they are committed
  2. Rewards associated with achievement
  3. Accept and seek responsibility
  4. Creativity, imagination and ingenuity
  5. Intellectual capabilities are generally only partly utilised.

Theory ‘Y’ managers typically:

  1. Affirm people, exhibit trust
  2. Create conditions where individuals can achieve satisfaction while directing efforts to the achievement of organisational objectives.
  3. Provide employees with scope to use talents & creativity
  4. Believe in participation not prescription

Companies with such assumptions about people are more likely to be flexible in facing a changing world.


Money helps attract and retain good people but consider this for yourself, is it enough to keep people motivated. Research shows these are the most important motivators.

  1. Full appreciation of work done
  2. Feeling of being involved / knowing what’s going on
  3. Job security
  4. High salary
  5. Interesting work


  • Cash, material benefits, holidays
  • Security
  • Working conditions
  • Career development                                                           


  • Sense of purpose & achievement
  • Autonomy
  • Sense of knowing what’s going on
  • Feeling of job competence

(*) Team leaders need to concentrate on this area


  1. Set challenging targets
  2. Fully inform your team about decisions
  3. Involve more people in planning & innovation
  4. Delegate effectively
  5. Give responsibility for achievement
  6. Clear linkage between effort and reward
  7. Recognise achievements

My belief is taking theory ‘Y’ and combining with the motivators makes not only for a happy working environment but a much more productive one.

Coaching to Success looks at the way you or your team(s) manages the business and then help you to find the best way forward for all concerned.

Aristotle quoted “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” so we give you the means to make your company/firm better than your competition, all you have to do is take the first step by contacting Neil on 07761 187238 or email to set up a free initial conversation to discuss areas you care to improve – take a step into Theory Y!