Manage informal performance factors

N°197a – Synthèse (8 p.) – Motivation
Manage informal performance factors
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Lack of motivation, withdrawal, resistance, and infighting are all phenomena difficult to control with formal management drivers alone. How to influence informal performance factors?

Business leaders possess an arsenal of formal tools to manage their teams, including organizational structures, job definitions, rules and procedures, performance objectives, key performance indicators, etc. These tools are designed to help companies organize team efforts rationally, clearly allocate roles, ensure that every member of the organization receives consistent messages, and drive collective efforts toward common goals. Yet, experience shows that these formal tools alone do not determine how the business really operates – far from it!

Emotions, power struggles and competition for influence have a major impact on employee behavior, for example. Indeed, these intangible factors have a decisive influence on whether people follow the rules and go through official decision-making channels. Effective management therefore requires knowing how to leverage these informal mechanisms to best orient individual and collective behavior. The experts whose publications are analyzed here encourage managers to take a particularly close look at three such mechanisms:

– Pride: Pride largely determines the extent to which employees feel committed and the level of energy they are willing to devote to attaining the company’s objectives.

– Social emulation: Peer pressure often has a great influence on the attitudes and behaviors typically demonstrated by employees. Companies can manage change and promote desired behaviors by playing on this natural tendency.

– Contradictory influences: Individual behavior generally results from a number of different influences, which may be mutually contradictory at times. Learning to make sense of this complexity can help companies identify ways to convert opponents into allies.

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