Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Four Types of Employees and Four Reasons Why They Work

Once, while enjoying a dinner social at my church, it dawned on me that there are four types of church members when it comes to cleaning up after an event. There are chair-carrying members and non-chair-carrying members. In other words, there are those who willingly help out and those who absolutely refuse to help out. The non-chair-carrying members stand there while others work around them. Or they leave immediately after the event so they don't have to do anything.

In between the two continuum extremes of chair-carrying and non-chair-carrying members are two additional categories of church members.

The third category includes people who will carry chairs, but only after they are asked. They only become aware that assistance is needed when it is pointed out to them. Then, having been asked directly, they chip in and help with the work.

Finally, the fourth category includes those who will carry chairs when asked, but they only do the minimum amount of work to make it look like they are helping. These members typically sneak out after fulfilling their minimal obligation. They hope no one will notice their laziness.

Employees seem to fall into these same four categories.

There are those employees who always work hard and regularly pitch in without having to be asked. There are those workers who when asked, will do exactly what they are told. There are those who, when asked, will do the minimum amount necessary to make it look like they are doing what is asked. And there are those employees who won’t do anything, even when asked.

Upon reflection I’ve also noticed at church that people keep the commandments for four different reasons. Although the results may be the same, the quality of the experience is vastly different.

Some people maintain the standards of the church out of obedience. They do it because they have been commanded to do so. And they fear the consequences if they are disobedient.

Others keep the commandments because it is their duty as a member of the sect. They feel they must model certain behaviors because it is expected of them; and they dutifully comply.

Still others obey because they know when they do so they will receive the blessings that are associated with keeping the commandments. They are motivated by the promise of a higher status if they perform well.

Then there are those who are truly converted. They keep the commandments because they love to serve, they love their fellow man, or they love God. They don’t do it for blessings, out of duty, or fear of disobedience. They do it because it is the right thing to do. They do it because it is who they are.

Not surprisingly, employee motivations seem to fall under the same four factors.

Some employees only do their job because they have to. They obediently comply because they have been commanded to work. But compliance is not commitment.

Other workers do their duty by doing exactly what they are told. Still others do it for the money, the status or other rewards that come when one performs well.

But the best employees are those who love their job, love their colleagues, and love to fulfill their tasks because they know it is the right thing to do. They do it because of an inner resolve and a personal commitment. They do it because it is who they are.

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