On Motivating Others

by Jeff Gitterman

via Getty Images

As an employer, my interest is in creating longterm changes that hopefully lead to better moral and ethical decisions from both me and my employees. With this in mind, I’ve generally found that there are two ways to go about motivating people.
The first is to affect them through fear and manipulation tactics or by offering them some kind of positive reward. While this type of influence can often bring about changes in the short term, in my experience, it rarely leads to longterm behavioral change.
The second way I believe people can be motivated is to be the kind of person, through direct action and personal example, that other people want to emulate. For me, this is an open-ended, ever-evolving process based around creating workplace conditions that foster a safe environment for people to drop their fear-based behaviors and begin to show more authenticity.

In essence, the kind of motivation I’m talking about is a top-down leadership approach, where the employer is seen as somebody who operates from a place of integrity and level emotional disposition. By integrity, I mean someone who is coming from a place of high moral and ethical standards in his or her own life, and behaves in a way that he or she can then justifiably expect employees to strive toward emulating.

My financial services company is based on several core principles, which I hope trickle down to my employees in some way. I think two of them are particularly relevant here.
The first is to have a daily practice of silence and/or meditation. It doesn’t matter what technique you use, but take some time each day to quiet your mind and senses so you can develop more control over your thoughts and interactions throughout the day. You will be able to think more clearly and function more effectively. Stress is contagious, but so is stillness.  

The second is to find a way to give to others rather than looking for what you can get in as many of your dealings and interactions as you can. It may seem like a cliché and somewhat of a paradox, but there is truth in the notion that the more you give, the more you will receive. The only way to see if this is really true is to put it into practice with sincerity and for an extended period of time.

When a leader operates from this place and can generate tangible success from this foundation, then his or her influence becomes an organic process that, in many ways, is the antithesis of the fear and manipulation or short-term reward approach. Learning how to cultivate this more authentic type of motivation is an important part of creating the improved world that many of us long for.


Jeff GittermanJeff Gitterman is an award-winning financial advisor and the CEO of Gitterman & Associates Wealth Management, LLC.  He is also the co-founder of Beyond Success, a consulting firm that brings more holistic values to the world of business and finance. His first book, “Beyond Success: Redefining the Meaning of Prosperity,” was recently published by AMACOM, the publishing house of the American Management Association. Jeff has been featured in Money Magazine, CNN, Financial Advisor, New Jersey Business Journal and News 12 New Jersey.  In 2004, he was honored by Fortune Small Business Magazine as ‘One of Our Nation’s Best Bosses.’ He also serves as chairman of the advisory board to the Autism Center of New Jersey Medical School, an organization that raises significant monies each year for autism research and support services.