APPLICATION OF MOTIVATION THEORIES TO DELEGATION

Inasmuch as many leadership authors and gurus vary opinions on delegation at the workplace, discussions on leader- follower motivation techniques most often than not do have special routines in influencing colleagues at work and in fixing situations as they arise. Reviewing some of the popular motivation theories as they pertain to leader-follower relationship journey within delegation as the situation, Maslow (Hughes et al, 2015) for example, hinted that if lower-order needs are not met, leaders may not be able to motivate followers with the high-order needs. Granted. To the point, if a follower’s physiological and safety needs are not met, it may be difficult to expect much from such colleague on the relationship, love and team belongingness level. Several intellectual arguments have however brought discussions home. In conclusion, all three elements within the leader-follower- situation interactional framework would at some point within the delegation curve influence whether delegation motivates or not, depending on the situation, the follower or the leader.

“….. Leader actions and inactions must inspire commitment towards delegation within the leadership process”

Leader actions and inactions must inspire commitment towards delegation within the leadership process. Although delegation continues to remain a responsibility as part of the leader-follower relationship journey, when other motivation theories are subjected to the discourse, they point to similar direction but with clear intent as established within the leader- follower relationship dialogue. The achievement orientation motivation theory for example sums up that people’s motivation are driven by their personality type. In effect, colleagues are selective on what would make them excited and what may not, depending on their personality type. Within the OCEAN model of personality (Hughes et al, 2015) for instance, a person Open to experience may enjoy delegation and may see delegation as motivating at the workplace, as compared to another who is Conscientious.

Still within this argument, there are issues of situations having possible and a direct influence on some personality types. The theory of goal setting also makes it clear that when goals are set, people are motivated to meet the goals which inadvertently leads to behavioral change. In basic terms, if delegation is set as part of organizational or growth goals, colleagues will embrace it as such and it will improve behaviors among teams. The operant approach interestingly suggests the application of rewards and punishments to change behaviors within teams. Here, leaders may choose to reward followers who embrace delegation as a responsibility. The Empowerment motivation tool (Pearson, 2019) brings meaning to the delegation process. It proposes that when leaders give followers autonomy and latitude to work, they become expressively empowered and their motivation levels rise suddenly, and this stimulates personal growth.

Diving deep into the discussion from all corners, while some conclude that delegation motivates, others are of the view that the undercurrents of delegation must make meaning to the leader and the follower. Next week we’ll end the series on delegation with the Hertzberg’s two factor theory which seeks to separate the motivators from the hygiene factors at the workplace to enable us gain fresh and ultimate insights into delegation and how delegation as a leadership gizmo shouldn’t only motivate followers, but should also be a managerial tool for leaders as well.

This is Leadership!

Richard Ahenkorah
Author: Richard K. Ahenkorah

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