Tuesday, February 22, 2011


       Motivation is what drives individuals or groups to do the best they possibly could on a task.  Not every individual or group has the same level of motivation.  This can make being a leader or even a member of a team difficult because some are more motivated than others.
       When I was a senior in high school, I was the Editor in Chief of the school yearbook, The Statesman. This task required a lot of time and commitment from the three editors.  It seemed that out of the group of thirty five girls, the only three who were motivated to create the best yearbook were the three of us which was difficult.
       A typical problem that occurred within the team was "social loafing." More information about "social loafing" can be found at Social Loafing Information. When this occurred, the three editors ended up doing most of the work. This was an extreme burden on us because we had our own work that needed to be completed. A list of typical work that editors are required to do can be found at Editor in Chief Job Description. As the year went on, this got more frustrating because the work kept piling up.  By the end of the year we had more work than we were able to complete.  As a senior, we had senior privilege where we ended school about three weeks earlier than others.  While all of my friends were at the pool or going shopping, I was showing my motivation and dedication for the creation of the best yearbook by being in the classroom.  Even when I was at Beach Week, I was still working on the yearbook by being in constant communication with the editors still working in Richmond.
       As leaders of the team, it was difficult to get these girls to complete work to the best of their ability and on time.  In order to change, their lack of motivation we set up a positive rewards system.  Further reasons why reward and positive reinforcement are important can be found at Positive Effects of Reward. When I first got into yearbook, the grading scale was very slack and as long as you completed your work you got a good grade. However, we decided that the girls who worked the hardest should get the better grades.  This created a reward system within the class.  As the requirements got harder, the motivation increased in order to compensate.  Also on Fridays if everyone had done what they were supposed to do, the teacher would bring in Airheads for everyone.  A simple piece of candy does not seem much, but you would be surprised at how much more girls worked when they knew candy was on the line.
     I know exactly what I should do when a team is not a cohesive unit.  The idea of "social loafing" is extremely common and at times can be difficult to deal with.

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