• Over time Ted’s image changed.He was still the same hard worker but people viewed him as more accessible and friendlier.Now they were more willing to go the extra mile for him.Ted had a blind spot, something that others saw in his behavior that he didn’t see.In his case it was a negative blind spot.Some blind spots are positive, for example people who are always helpful, never complaining, seemingly at peace with themselves and the world, or who just make work a better place by their presence but don’t have a clue that their positive spirits lift the spirits of those around them.The examples that readily come to mind, however, usually are negative blind spots.Most of us have known people who just make us scratch our heads.We might be one of them.We all have blind spots.My students know about aspects of my life because I weave examples from my life into lecture and discussion to illustrate course concepts.Likewise, there are aspects of my behavior that are blind spots, things about me that other people see but about which I am not aware.For years I wore a brown corduroy jacket with patches on the elbows everywhere I went.Then at a party one evening an acquaintance pointed out that I needed to upgrade my wardrobe, that I risked the possibility of not being taken seriously by some people of means with whom I potentially would be conducting business.I did not like the idea of being judged by what I wore.My attitude was, to quote Henry David Thoreau, If I am not I, who will be.4 But I recognized the wisdom of that counsel, I upgraded my look, and I must admit that I noticed a difference in how people responded to me.Shortly thereafter, at a conference in New York City, I approached the speaker for the afternoon, a government official of high rank, an advisor to presidents.He had delivered a provocative address and I had a question.He was in a group surrounded by other professors.I walked up to ease into the group and take my turn but he stopped the conversation with the others, turned to me, introduced himself, and shook my hand.We chatted, he answered my questions, and then he turned back to the others.As I pondered this, I realized that the other professors were dressed as I had been dressed only a month before.In my Brooks Brothers suit I now was in a corporate uniform for America, dressed similarly to the speaker and not like the others.It was a powerful lesson.Sometimes being aware of another person’s blind spots can be helpful.That tell provides useful insights, both in the workplace or when playing poker with him.How do you find out if you have any blind spots?This can be difficult.You have to be willing to listen openly and without criticism to someone you trust who knows and values you.Charlotte knew that she was less effective in her workplace than she could be.If anyone talked with her, it was because she initiated the conversation, except for Ava.Charlotte and Ava had known each other for several years.They had graduated from the same college a few years apart, but that was enough for them to form a bond.After a company training presentation on the Johari Window, Charlotte decided to ask Ava about her blind spots.Charlotte found the opportunity one day after work when no one else was around.Ava, I need to talk with you about something and just keep it between the two of us.Sure.I was just wondering.How do I come across around here?I trust your opinion and I really want to know.I don’t want to know who says what and all that.I know you and I know you’re not, but when you talk it’s usually about yourself and what you’ve done and what you like.And once you start talking you usually don’t give anyone a chance to join in.Look, I like you, but that’s the way it is.Thanks, Ava.You’re a pal.Charlotte pondered Ava’s remarks.She trusted Ava and valued her judgment.I can work on this. And she did.When Charlotte caught herself going on and on about herself, she would stop, pause, and listen to the other person.She worked hard at changing this behavior and the perceptions of her, and in time she was successful.Negative blind spots can end careers and deny opportunities.For years I had negative feelings about the term impression management, but I came to realize that awareness of the impressions you create is important.Like it or not, as Shakespeare wrote in, As You Like It, All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. Erving Goffman, the sociologist, expounded on this idea in The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, a treatise on how we communicate, verbally and nonverbally, as we move through our life’s play.5 He argued that regardless of whether we are aware of it, we all are actors in a performance, choosing what we share, when we share, how we share, forming impressions.A visit to a singles bar on a Saturday night is ample proof.To decode the workplace, we must understand that we live in a world of perceptions.To be more effective, we need to be aware of the impressions we create.It’s Not All about MoneyFor two decades Dave had been at the same job.He worked with six guys loading containers of grocery items into trailers for large trucks to deliver to grocery stores regionally.The work was steady.The pay was reasonable.Then Dave hit the state lottery jackpot, a cool $10 million dollars after taxes.A month later Dave showed up at the loading docks.Hi, guys, I’m back, he said with a big grin.His coworkers were stunned.What do you mean you’re back?Dude, you’re a millionaire.Yeah, Dave, what the heck are you doing here?Dave still smiling just looked at his old buddies and said, I missed you guys.If you won millions of dollars in a lottery, would you continue to work?I often pose this question to my students.Some say, Are you crazy?Of course, not. Others, Maybe but I’d do some traveling first. Still others, Yes, but I’d work elsewhere, start my own business, or do volunteer work. And still others, Probably, I’m not sure what else I would do with my time. Do people who win large sums of money in lotteries continue to work?Research studies have answered this.The majority do continue to work.Some studies suggest that more than 85% do so.1People work for several reasons.The most fundamental reason is economic.In most societies, people need income to buy goods and services.We need a paycheck and want benefits that allow us to enjoy life.Clearly that is not the case for big lottery winners, at least not for those who manage their winnings.Dave went back to work because he missed his buddies.We are social animals.We need other people.The workplace can be like a second family, be it functional or dysfunctional.We have social needs that often are met in the workplace.We interact with others, form friendships, and make acquaintances.For many people, we find part of our identity in what we do in our jobs.We see how the work we do benefits others, is part of a larger and meaningful enterprise, and gives us a sense of accomplishment.For some people, work also can provide a sense of place in community or a perception of status, especially for those in professional positions such as teachers, doctors, lawyers, and religious leaders.People have needs, physiological and psychological, that affect behaviors, consciously and unconsciously.Most needs can be thought of as deficient conditions that we seek to satisfy.When I am hungry, I need food, I find something to eat.Needs do not differentiate between whether you are at home, the workplace, or elsewhere.When you are hungry, you are hungry.As human beings, our needs are just part of us.If this sounds familiar, it probably is.From a workplace perspective, Maslow’s theory is not really about the individual.The workplace implication is that organizations should recognize that people have different needs and companies should provide a variety of programs that can benefit employees no matter where they are in Maslow’s hierarchy.Therefore, if I ran an organization, I might greet a meeting of new employees as follows.Welcome to Ballard Enterprises!We are so glad you have joined our team.We have an excellent cafeteria with great selections every day.And you don’t have to walk a mile to find a clean, convenient restroom.If that means offering to retrain you at some point, we’ll do it.We reimburse educational tuition at 100%.Our safety record is second to none.We have the lowest accident record in the state in our industry and great health benefits.Want to be recognized for your achievements?We have fair and competitive opportunities for advancement and pay raises.You are not a number.You are a person, a valued employee.You can be all that you can be at Ballard Enterprises.Is this approach practical?Perhaps for some organizations, but probably not for most.But the perspective that employees can be motivated by different things is very important.Maslow saw the human potential in each of us.Motivation is that which energizes, directs, and sustains behavior, so stated Richard Steers.4 This is my favorite definition of motivation.What truly motivates you?What will you put energy into making happen?The people around you in the workplace are there for a variety of reasons.Money and social needs, sure, but beyond that, what motivates them?Frederick Herzberg proposed that there are factors that reduce job dissatisfaction but do not motivate, such as job security, pay, and benefits, and there are motivating factors that affect our job satisfaction, such as feelings of accomplishment and recognition.5 Research has not supported the details of Herzberg’s theory.6 Even so, Herzberg did make an important contribution.Do we have a sense of accomplishment, are we recognized for our efforts, do we enjoy the work at hand?Jasmine did not like her job.She worked as a desk clerk at a large hotel.She wanted to work in the hospitality industry and this was the only position she was offered.The job had potential.Sometimes Jasmine could do small things to make a difference for the people who stayed at the hotel.Unfortunately, Jasmine could do little to address such issues.Her supervisor had to approve all such actions, and sometimes her supervisor was difficult to reach.Jasmine was empowered.She now could evaluate situations and provide better customer service.She could treat people the way she would like to be treated.Empowering employees by enriching jobs and giving more responsibility can be motivating.But it’s important to understand that not all people want their jobs enriched.Think about your job.Do you enjoy the job itself?Do you get a sense of accomplishment from your work?What about those around you in the workplace?Are they motivated by what they do?What would you change, if anything, about your work?What about your workplace?Your perception as to whether you are being treated fairly can have a significant effect on your motivation.The sense of fair treatment is a huge factor.Stacy Adams’s equity theory.7 People want to be treated fairly.Although organizations should try to treat each employee fairly, the key is the employee’s perception.

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