Steps That Could Be Taken To Improve Motivation within the United Nations Workforce

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The United Nations is an international organization that was developed in 1945 after the end of the Second World War. The organization was formed as a resolution among 51 countries to encourage peace and prevent international conflicts through the formulation of international policies. Therefore, the organization was developed to ensure the promotion of international cooperation and maintaining international order. These nations are guided and connected through the Charter of United Nations as the governing document (Fassbender, 1998, pp 529). The purpose of the United Nations, therefore, involves the development of relations among member states, provision of a forum to engage member states in achieving the UN goals, improving corporation among member states to solve social, economic, humanitarian and cultural problems and maintenance of world peace and security. Currently, the United Nations have a total of 193 member states which consist of several countries all over the world. Any application to the organization must be done through the Security Council and approved by the member states (Simma, 2002, pp 2). Therefore, the United Nations workforce consists of a wide range of individuals from different with different cultural and social backgrounds. Based on the harsh environment in which these individuals are expected to work, they require a high level of motivation to maintain a commitment to achieving the goals of the organization. Therefore, several initiatives and steps must be installed to ensure the workforce remains committed to the mission and vision of the United Nations.

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According to Zaleznik (2004, pp 171), leadership provides the most fundamental aspect in motivating the workforce to engage in accomplishing an organizations vision and mission. The development of effective leadership initiatives in the United Nations will be critical towards achieving motivation and encouraging the workforce in meeting the international goals of peacekeeping and security missions. Management as a function provides the ability to run an organization best and produce value for the organization (Yukl and Lepsinger, 2005, pp 361). On the other hand, leadership focuses on the sustainability of the organization to ensure the future generations benefit from the actions of the current leaders. Additionally, the use of leadership as a tool and a process and not as a role ensures effective influence over the followers to take the same footsteps towards achieving success (Zaleznik, 2004, pp 177). Therefore, achieving motivation in the United Nations should allow the use of a bottom-up approach to ensure the completion of the leadership chain. The leaders of the organization must be good listeners and encourage the input from the employees for the workforce to feel part of the organization (Yukl, 1999, pp 285). Furthermore, the United Nations should focus on the development of green leaders such as Martin Luther King Jnr., who have the leadership impact on the world through their speeches that could induce the use of policies and spread the message to their followers effectively. Leadership entirely focuses on the development of vision, creating direction and leading the followers in the same direction (Westley and Mintzberg, 1989, p. 32). A united workforce behind an effective leadership leads to the achievement of goals and organizations mission.

Effective leadership also requires the improvement and development of employees through training and the implementation of knowledge management systems in an organization. According to Bryman (2004, pp 729), employee training and development provides the key to motivation which results in their retention based on achieving satisfaction. Training and development particularly focus on the improvement of skills, knowledge and competence in the specific field of the employees to enhance their confidence in handling responsibilities and tasks (Yammarino, 2013, pp 155). Therefore, the introduction of training and development initiatives that focus on leadership and performance will increase the productivity, effectiveness and profitability of the employees to the United Nations. Additionally, Bryman (2004, pp 769) highlights that the commitment shown by an organization provides a significant factor in the choice made by employees on their employers and job opportunities applied. Therefore, the successful implementation of training and development in the United Nations will ensure most job seekers are attracted to the organization hence gaining the most appropriate talent in the job market to promote the organization’s mission. Furthermore, a review by Blais and Sinclair-Dsegagné (2002, n.p) indicates that training and development help in employees growth through enhancing their skills which form an integral part of their happiness as well as satisfaction in the job. Hence, the adoption of employee training and development will be effective in achieving positive morale, engagement and motivation among the United Nations employees and effectively contribute to the increased retention of the UN employees.

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Apart from training and development, the vision of the leaders also brings upon motivation in the workforce when the leader can effectively rally the followers to get behind a common goal (Kouzes and Posner, 1990, pp 29). The vision of the United Nations as an organization involves the powerful force behind solving the common global challenges and creating sustainable global opportunities. Therefore, the organization requires a visionary leader with the ability to bring multicultural individuals with diverse backgrounds to focus on achieving the United Nations vision. According to Bass (1990, pp 19), learning to share the vision of an organization is significant for the development and sustainability of the organization. Hence, the adoption of transformational leadership within the United Nations will be useful towards giving the workers the autonomy in their jobs as well as the authority to provide efficient decision-making about the United Nations vision. Research completed by Yukl (1999, pp 285) indicated that the important traits of the transformational leadership include inspiration, mobilization, raising the well-being and motivation of the workforce, creating excellent rapport and conflict resolution (Covey, 2015, n.p). Therefore, the use of transformational leaders such as Koffi Annan and Ban Ki-Moon as the secretary general of the United Nations has been beneficial to the United Nations. Hence, the concept of transformational leadership should be trickled down from the top to the lower levels of leadership to capture a global perspective. It is easier for a workforce to accomplish and get united behind a leader with a vision and direct the followers towards realizing the vision (Bass, 1990, pp 31).

Moreover, the path-goal theory of leadership provides that the behavior of leaders is highly contingent upon the performance, satisfaction and motivation of the subordinates in a given organization. The theory focuses on the specification of the leadership style and behaviors that benefit and influence the employee’s behavior in the working environment to ensure the achievement of goals and the organization’s vision (House and Mitchell, 1975, n.p). The application of the path-goal theory in the United Nations will focus on the improvement of the employee empowerment and productivity to ensure the workforce is committed to the vision of the organization. Therefore, the selection of specific behaviors by leaders which are significant to the employee needs as well as the working environment will be important to guide the employees in the right path to achieve the organization’s goals (Vecchio et al., 2008, pp 82). Additionally, the path goal theory of leadership is useful in the achievement of motivation as a result of three basic steps. The initial step involves the determination of the employee and environmental behaviors. The leaders of the United Nations must provide a peaceful working environment to ensure the effectiveness of the employees. The second step involves the identification of motivational factors which are significant for the success of the employees. The interaction of employees and the management must be based on respect and uphold high levels of integrity to encourage the workforce. Lastly, the leadership style adopted by the organization’s leader is influential in ensuring high levels of work motivation (Kanfer, 1992, p 53).

Based on the leadership style, House and Mitchell (1975, n.p) describes four primary leadership approaches which are suitable for the development of motivation in the workforce. These leadership styles include supportive, directive, participative and achievement oriented leadership styles. However, the application of these leadership styles in an organization highly depends on the capability of the followers and the contextual job factors (Bjugstad et al., 2006, pp 304). Supportive leadership as a motivational process involves the leaders showing concern based on the welfare as well as the working environment of the workforce. The application of supportive leadership highly influences the motivation of the follower’s with low self-esteem and in stressful, hazardous or boring work environments to make the job more interesting. Secondly, directive leadership involves leading the followers in the right direction and providing guidance along the way; hence, increasing the employee’s sense of security and control of their responsibilities. Providing directions to the employees increases their performance ability hence becoming more interested in their assignments. Thirdly, participative leadership style involves the development of consultation pathways between the organization’s leaders and the workforce. Therefore, the leadership of the organization takes into consideration the employees ideas and views and ideas when making critical decisions and taking actions in the organization. Lastly, achievement-oriented leadership style involves the development of challenging goals both at the works point of view and for self-improvements. The approach ensures that the leadership shows faith in the capabilities of the workforce and encourages them to accomplish the complex task. Hence, the application of these leadership styles will be significant for the motivation of the United Nations employees based on the diverse speciality and backgrounds thereby increasing their performance as well as the organization’s sustainability.

Apart from the application of the leadership styles involved in the improvement of the workforce morale, implementation of various incentive programs provides a quality pathway to achieving motivation. Most of the United Nations work, based on the media reports and news, are located in areas with harsh working conditions. For instance, peace keeping missions are located in areas often associated with the war among nations or conflicts among communities. Most employees might be discouraged based on the threats to their lives. However, implementation of incentives and benefit programs in the organization could form an encouraging factor to enable the workforce effectively handle their job. According to the study done by the International Society of Performance Improvement, incentive programs can improve performance on an individual with about 22% and about 44% of teams (Condly et al., 2003, pp 46). Furthermore, the installation of employee benefits and incentive programs have the potential of attracting high-quality employees and ensuring their retention. Such employee benefits including hardship allowance, disability insurance, paid leave, retirement benefits, healthcare insurance and flexible compensations can help motivate employees to achieve the organization’s goals (Pink, 2013, n.p). Therefore, the development of flexible employee benefits and incentive programs can be significant towards improving employee motivation at the United Nations.

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Additionally, ensuring employees’ security has been identified through research as a crucial component of employee motivation. Security does involve not only physical security but also social and economic security. According to the psychological theory developed by Maslow in 1943, a hierarchy of needs exists which are required by people before they can explore their full potential. The theory provides that some needs must be achieved before other needs can be satisfied. Security falls at the base of the hierarchy of need after the physiological needs have been met. Therefore, once the physiological needs of the employees have been met, they will want to be assured of security before they can get motivated to stretch their potential further. Hence, the United Nations must develop departments specifically dedicated to the protection of the workforce as well as the assets of the organization. Approaches must be put in place to help in the collection of data, installation of standard procedures and norms and basic training conducted to the employees to ensure prevention and management of risks in the organization (Gill, 2014, n.p). Moreover, financial security to employees ensures that their basic needs are assured hence get motivated to explore the other stages of the hierarchy of needs. Therefore, through the application of the right mechanisms to meet employees psychological and security or safety needs they will be highly motivated to explore hence making them able to get committed to achieving the organization’s goals.

Similarly, the great man theory leadership as developed by Thomas Carlyle provides that, the history of the world consists of the combined biographies of the great men that have existed in the world. The theory also indicates that effective leaders consisted of a package of motivation and the right personality. Therefore, people are often encouraged to follow in the footsteps of great leaders such as Dwight D. Eisenhower or Winston Churchill as a motivation to accomplish greatness in life and career. Moreover, the theory is based on the assumption that a leader is a hero who does everything possible to achieve the goals regardless of the odds for the followers (Hoffman et al., 2011, pp 347). Therefore, when the leadership of an organization is based on the application of the great man theory, the leaders of the organization will act as the role models to be imitated by the employees in every aspect. Through imitating the personalities and aspiring for the achievements of the great people in the society, the workforce will be encouraged and motivated to reach for greatness. However, the theory has been criticized based on gender biases and the assumption that leadership only belongs to the individuals who are born to be leaders of the society and is specific to some people. However, Torres (2013, n.p) indicated everyone could be a leader based on the right personality traits and the level of commitment they have installed to become a leader.

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These personality traits have been coined and broken down to five basic dimensions of an individual’s personality widely known as the big five personality traits. According to Taylor (2009, pp 631), the five personality traits involved in leadership include extroversion, openness, conscientiousness, agreeableness and neuroticism. The five traits serve as the five basic building blocks of personality and determine the ability of an individual to become a leader. Openness to experience as a personality trait allows an individual to be willing to try new ideas, become vulnerable and think outside the box hence can be imaginative and creative. Conscientiousness, on the other hand, involves the ability of an individual to have control over impulses and take actions in a socially acceptable means hence facilitating goal-based behavior. Thirdly, extroversion involves the ability to seek opportunities for social interaction and being action oriented hence encouraging networking. Fourthly, agreeableness involves the orientation of an individual to others hence promoting respect and trust. Lastly, neuroticism involves confidence and comfort of an individual hence improving an individual’s emotional stability through the removal of self-doubts. Therefore, the combination of the big five personality traits by a workforce shows the potential of the workforce developing leadership abilities (Kouzes and Posner, 2009, pp 63). These traits have the ability to encourage motivation in an organization through the development of competence, tender-mindedness, promoting compliance, adding value, improving trust and rapport and controlling vulnerability and risks at the workplace (Andersen, 2006, 1091). Hence, the incorporation of the five personality traits in the leadership of the United Nations will ensure the development of effective leaders and motivated and productive workforce.

Lastly, the United Nations play a critical role and have a unique relevance in the global arena and contains millions of employees in various corners of the world. The mandate of the United Nations draws a variety of employees to help in hunger management, poverty reduction, medical aid, military peace keeping, conflict resolution and assistance of the member countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Therefore, the right organizational culture and management theory will be significant towards enabling the organization to effectively and efficiently deliver its mandate through ensuring the workforce is motivated to uphold their responsibilities (Mullins and Christy, 2013, n.p). The organizational culture of the United Nations specifically involves encouraging “Unity in Diversity” to ensure effective corporation of the multicultural and diverse background employees (Javidan et al., 2006, p 67). The United Nations culture, therefore, influences the behavior of the employees, decision-making, employee motivation and performance. Furthermore, the application of the United Nations organizational culture encourages effective team building since the workforce is united under one umbrella regardless of their social, economic, political and cultural differences (Thomas, 2004, p 144). Furthermore, the sustainable development agenda of the United Nations requires that the workforces must be effectively connected to learning and working as one unit. Once the workforce is united, and the teams are effective based on the organizational culture, the employees will be highly motivated to achieve the organizational goals (Handy, 1993, n.p). Hence, an effective organizational culture ensures motivation of the workforce through promoting team building and unity in the organization.

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In conclusion, the United Nations is an international organization that was developed to ensure the promotion of international co-operation and maintaining international order. Therefore, the organization consists of multicultural and diverse employee background. Based on the harsh environment in which these individuals are expected to work, they require a high level of motivation to maintain a commitment to achieving the goals of the organization. Therefore, several initiatives and steps must be installed to ensure the workforce remains committed to the mission and vision of the United Nations. The most fundamental aspect in motivating the workforce to engage in accomplishing an organizations vision and mission involves effective leadership. On the other hand, effective leadership also requires the improvement and development of employees through training and the implementation of knowledge management systems in an organization (Muo, 2013, p. 119). Apart from training and development, the vision of the leaders also brings upon motivation in the workforce when the leader can effectively rally the followers to get behind a common goal. Moreover, the application of various theories of management such as the path goal theory, the great man theory, the motivational theory (hierarchy of needs) and personality trait theory of leadership is crucial to the development of motivation in an organization. Furthermore, the application and implementation of the right leadership style, employee benefits and incentive programs, as well as the ensuring employee security, are crucial to the motivation of the workforce. Lastly, the right organizational culture is significant towards enabling the organization to effectively and efficiently deliver its mandate through ensuring the workforce is motivated to uphold their responsibilities. The United Nations organizational culture involving “Unity in Diversity” encourages team building regardless of the employee background and improves their motivation based on being united to achieve the same goal.

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