As an elected leader in your organization, you are probably already sold on the value of active particiation in groups. Unfortunately, you are a minority.

Although many people take the first step and join organizations, only a small percentage of these people become active members. There are many reasons for this apathy. Some nonparticipants have other priorities, some want to claim membership on their resumes without committing time to the group, some aren't up to the challenge of active participation in addition to a heavy load of classwork. Others who aren't involved hold back simply because they don't know how to do more or because they haven't been asked to do more. The last category of members offers the richest source of energy and talent available for organizations to tap.

In your role as officer, you have the responsibility to try to create a climate withing the group that will inspire interest, enthusiasm and participation. Admittedly, this is a difficult task to accomplish for the most seasoned leaders. Motivation is defined as "the desire of force within an individual which causes him or her to act." As defined, motivation is something that comes from within a person, not an external force applied by someone else.If this is true, then you can't do much to motivate someone. The individualsin your group are already motivated towards their own goals and needs.

Psychologists have compared motivation to a pair of scissors. One blade represents the needs a person brings to a situation. The other blade is what the situation brings to the person. Because no one can change another person's needs, your challenge is to create an environment which will encourage participation. The goal is to allow motivated individual to achieve their goals and meet their needs while achieving the goals of the organization.

How can you Motivate Others?

Just because motivation is a personal feeling or attitude doesn't mean that you can't motivate others. There are several things you can do to help motivate members

1) Set goals and objectives. Everyone needs something to work toward. The key is in setting concrete goals with specific behavioural objectives and in giving people the oopportunity to help create them. Remember: "People support what they help create."

2) Set clear and realistic standards and expectations. People need to know exactly what is expected of them and the standard or level of performance at which they are to work.

3) Establish appropriate rewards. Rewards are important. Whether verbal or tangible, people tend to work harder when soem reward is eminent.

4) Give attention to work and follow up. Give serious attention to the work which needs to be getting done. Be careful not to leave the impression that you don't trust others to do the work.

5) Use the words, "I need you." It is a very simple concept. People who feel needed, act needed -- and perform. But don't use "I need you" unless you mean it. Insincerity will breed apathy and distrust.

6) Be a good role model. Others will follow your example. Model the best behavioural standards and expectations that you expect of others.

Why some people aren't motivated

1) Personal slump. Somteimes people become overwhelmed with all they have to do and have problems getting organized and sorting things out. This can lead to personal slump. When this happens, a person lacks energy and becomes disorganized. There is little others can do to break an individual from a personal slump, other than be supportive of the individual and recognize the person's need to drop out of the mainstream for a while.

2) Lack of clear expectations. No one can me expected to work toward expectations that are unclear or are non-existent. Be specific in what the expectations are.

3) Lack of support for goals and objectives. Whether it is individual or organizational goals and objectives, if the member is not supportive of them, then the member will not be motivated to work toward them. People are motivated to acheive some goal. If there is not goal, they have nothing to work toward.

4) Lack of interest in job. A person can lose interest in a job. If that happens, aloow the prson to bow out gracefully. Find the individual a more interesting and challenging role to play. Show respect for a person's decision to step down. It is usually an honest and difficult decision to make.

Leader Tips 4/89. For more information on organizational and personal development skills or University policies regarding organizations, stop by or call the Governments and Activities Office, AO22 Brady Commons, Universiy of Missouri - Columbia, 882-3780