I'm curious about what other people (at least those who are regular employees, not contractors) think when they hear certain words from their managers. Like for instance, what do you hear when your manager, or your manager's manager, says "You have to be self-motivating." For me, it sends up a red flag of warning.
I have certain expectations of the role of manager. I expect my manager to be the filter for all the crap coming from above, and to likewise filter, repackage, and send back up the line the employees' responses. I expect my manager to let me know what's expected, what's happening, what I need to know to do my job. And I expect my manager to do a certain amount of motivating. A good manager knows that each employee is an individual, with individual needs and goals, and that each individual responds to different stimuli: that is, we're not all motivated by the same things. A good manager works to motivate each employee in the manner to which that employee will best respond.
Now, I'm not talking about being motivated to get out of bed in the morning. I'm not talking about being motivated to complete the required work on time and with the requisite quality when that's what I signed up to do because it interests me. I'm talking about those dumb ugly little (or big) projects that are of no bloody interest to anyone except that some manager way up the hierarchy says we have to do it. My manager should be able to spin that requirement in such a way that I see some benefit in doing it--some benefit besides keeping my job.
Fear is a lousy motivator. OK, it works short term, or in life-or-death cases, but as motivation to do good work over the long term it just backfires. Good managers know that.
So what goes through your mind when you hear "You have to motivate yourself." Are you like me? Do you think "Uh-oh, this means they're acknowledging failure"? Or "Uh-oh, they're abrogating their resonsibility"? Or "Uh-oh, they're resorting to FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt)"? That's what I hear. How about you?