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Motivation Goals

I have an employee who does decent work, but that's it. It's always the bare minimum, and he will only do more if I say so. I believe he's very capable, and I wonder if there is a way to get him to show more initiative, or is this it?

When you have an employee whose maximum is your minimum, you have cause for concern at the very least. This individual has most likely fallen into a lazy habit of doing just enough to get by. He knows the exact pass-fail cutoff point, and he hovers just above it, while being willing to do more if only if told to do so.

Since a person's initiative is a personality trait that is not easily changed, there is no quick fix. One way to find out if he is capable of showing initiative on the job is for you to get a clear idea of his individual needs. You can do this by spending additional time communicating with him and observing him. Perhaps you will find that he has some needs for praise, recognition, or attention. In such a case, the next step would be to link the fulfillment of these needs with increased initiative on the job. In this way, if he wants to meet his needs, he will need to show more initiative.

As a manager, part of your job is to try to understand your employees as individuals and create an environment where fulfillment of their goals will also help the company meet its goals. However, if this employee's goals are to do as little as possible, perhaps he should be doing so in another environment.

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