Even well-thought-out incentives lose effectiveness over time, and traditional practices of rewards programs often feel mechanical, manipulative and bureaucratic, according to George Langelett in his book How Do I Keep My Employees Motivated?: The Practice of Empathy-Based Management. Employees are influenced by emotions as well as logic in their decision-making, so managers need to develop their empathy skills to help employees make sound decisions and to influence long-term motivation.
So how do you go about developing your empathy skills? According to the author, you need to practise intersubjective experiences, which are occasions on which two people share the same emotional response to an event. The five steps to a manager sharing an intersubjective experience with an employee are:
This process enables the manager to assist the employee into a well-considered response to a crisis event, and it enables a manager to confront inappropriate attitudes or actions in an emotionally safe manner. The author provides numerous empathetic responses which managers can make in response to various different employee emotions. After learning and practising these responses, managers can be ready for any situation with an appropriate response.
This is a short and very interesting book, well worth the read for anyone who has managerial or supervisory responsibilities.