The B-BS challenge: effectively motivating managers at all levels
by Judith L. Komaki
May the 8th, 2017
14:00 – 17:00
AARBA, Corso Sempione 52, Milano
The traditional management adage “we treasure what we measure”, succinctly describes how
to motivate workers, as well as their bosses and their bosses’ bosses. As we move up the
management ladder, however, fewer and fewer suitable measures of leaders’ behavior are
available. What this means is that feedback and recognition become difficult if not impossible to
arrange, with sound, compelling leadership taken for granted. In this workshop, we’ll talk about the
two critical steps in successfully motivating leaders based on the Operant Model of Effective
Supervision (1998): 1) monitoring and 2) providing consequences (especially positive ones) for what
leaders do well. Even more important, we’ll practice assessing whether each step is present,
absent, or questionable. And lastly, Dr. Komaki will show some examples of how to measure and
treasure supervisors, middle level managers, and CEOs. Dr. Komaki’s hope is that this practice and
feedback will better equip the participants to evaluate and modify how leaders are being positively
reinforced (or not) in their own organization.
Prof. Judith L. Komaki, briefly introduced by prof. Fabio Tosolin
An organizational psychologist, Judith L. Komaki specializes in motivation, performance appraisal, and leadership. Initially, she set up motivational programs to improve such critical but difficult-to-detect tasks as preventive maintenance, customer service, and safety. But she quickly learned that without the proper management support, the program, no matter how well designed, would be doomed to failure. Hence, she began listening aboard racing sailboats and in darkened theaters to the nimble, back-and-forth exchanges of those in charge. What effective managers actually said and did was her focus. Currently, as a Professor Emerita of City University of New York’s Baruch College, she is striving to develop sophisticated performance appraisals and accolades for employees at all levels throughout the organization. Her ultimate aim is to prevent employment discrimination and promote economic and social justice for all. She is the proud author of a leadership book (Leadership from an Operant Perspective, Routledge, 1998), an off-off Broadway play, and an article about pursuing the dreams of Martin Luther King Jr. (Applied Psychology: International Review, 2007).
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