What Would You Do?

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By AHRA Staff

September 2011–Every month, a hypothetical management situation is posted. You are encouraged to share your thoughts (in the comment box below) on how you would address the issue. Here is this month’s question:

How do you promote professional development for a team that lacks motivation?

Be sure to check out others’ responses and join the discussion.


  1. Management is as simple as this – set expections + disclose consequences.
    If you’re looking to motivate, require it. Make “innovation” an expection in their JD/Performance Evaluation, and define it clearly. Examples = One new idea/year that saves 5% operational costs, or one workflow change/year that increases productivity evidenced by elimination of 1 FTE, plus require membership and writing/speaking involvement in their professional association, and employee satisfaction evidenced by 0% vacancy rate with Sick hours < 2%.

    Lynn McVey, Vice President of Operations – Meadowlands Hospital, NJ

  2. William R. Johnson, CRA, MBA System Director, Patient Experience-Memorial Health System Springfield, Illinois says:

    I believe it all begins with the leader role modeling the behavior. If the leader does not demonstrate a strong commitment towards their own personal and professional development it is unrealistic to expect followers to value professional development. The leader must believe in professional development and openly promote it, support it, recognize it publicly and have open dialogue with the staff about the importance of professional development. The leader must also create a workplace culture that values professional development. The culture of the department or work group is directly related to the values and priorities of the leader along with the shared expectations and self-image of the staff. When attempting to change the culture it is important for the leader to keep in mind that culture changes slowly; one person at a time. It is important for the leader to identify those on the team who are motivated and value professional development. By developing strong relationships with those individuals the leader can begin to build a small ‘tribe’ and then, one team member at a time, build a community of motivated staff focused on professional development. An important question for the leader to ask is, “Is the lack of motivation a symptom of a more serious problem?” The leader should be strong enough to openly listen to the feedback of the staff as to reasons they are not motivated to develop professionally. One of those reasons might be the performance of the leader.

  3. I definitely agree that the culture starts with those of us in leadership positions.Staying inspired and role modeling that behavior can be challenging as a leader too. We all have days were we get pulled in thirty different directions and are required to be on teams or projects that don’t motivate us and I think that is when we need to “suck it up” for lack of a better choice of words. Those are the days when the staff see’s what we are truly made of and would think we could all say that we have failed ourselves on a few occassions. This is a great reminder that we are “on” all the time and our staff watches what we do. This will make me think about that a more…thanks Bill for your words of inspiriation

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