The 3 Pillars of Motivating a Firefighter Crew | Motivation is why people behave the way they do. It is the reason they act in a certain way, and the reason may be internal or external. A recent book stated that intrinsic value is what motivates a person over the long term, as they want to act or behave in that way. They aren’t being forced to by an outside source. There are no external rewards or punishments for the behavior, so what factors play a role in intrinsic motivation?
Successful individuals tend to be intrinsically motivated. These people are self-driven. However, this doesn’t mean they act on their own. They work with others to achieve goals. Today, however, many people find they lack autonomy in the workplace.
For example, management may purchase Durable Fire Station Furniture to encourage the firefighters and other staff members to clean up behind themselves. They feel if the firefighters are proud of their surroundings they will keep the station clean. However, when they do clean, management comes in and criticizes their efforts.
People want to make decisions on their own. They don’t want somebody micromanaging their every move. By allowing them to make decisions and do things as they see fit, within reason, management shows the firefighters they are trusted. As a result, they will do the right thing.
Men and women often want to improve themselves. They believe their potential has no limits and work to better themselves by learning and practicing new skills. They worry less about being recognized for their accomplishments and more about mastering a skill.
To motivate a firefighting crew, management should provide good training and an environment geared toward learning. Leaders need to help their subordinates find ways to improve, such as by using a mistake as a learning opportunity rather than one in which to shame the person. Best practices should be reinforced, and individuals should be encouraged to find new challenges.
Some people always strive to know more. They love learning and engage in activities that allow them to do so whenever possible. Encourage this in all firefighters and see how it transforms the crew.
Imagine being asked to do a task that has no purpose. People of all ages find this very frustrating, as they feel they are wasting their time and energy on nothing. When a person sees how their work contributes to something bigger than themselves, they find they are motivated to work harder and be more productive. Seeing the big picture engages their mind.
Men and women appreciate being able to connect their personal goals to those of the company. Find ways to allow men and women to do work that they find adds value to the world. For example, set aside time for the firefighting crew to help at a homeless shelter, a burn unit in a hospital, or something of that nature. They see how their efforts help those who may have been injured in a fire or lost all of their belongings.
The crew often doesn’t get to follow up with those they have helped. They help the individual or family and move on to the next call. By allowing them to connect with people who have been helped either by their crew or another, leadership may motivate them when they feel down and discouraged.
Intrinsic motivation remains of great importance today. People frequently respond to external rewards but need to motivate themselves when no rewards are present. Leaders must know the basics of intrinsic motivation and use them when working with the crews. Those leaders that do so find they and their crew succeed in every way.