Friday, June 26, 2015

Cutting to the chase on motivation

Recently I was part of a team delivering a webinar to a leadership group on motivation.

Given the short intensive nature of webinars, the pressure was on to get to the point.

So in an attempt to capture the essence of motivational thinking, and speaking to our audience’s scientific preferences, combined with my affinity for alliteration, we presented the key drivers of motivation as:

  • Autonomy:  our wish to be free, independent, to live our own life, make our own decisions, use our own judgement.
  • Affiliation:  our desire to connect, have relationships, belong, couple with others
  • Achievement:  our drive to succeed, overcome challenges and be masterful in what we do whatever that is.         
  • A Purpose: our need to know our effort and energy signifies something and that we are contributing to something bigger than ourselves.

But if we really wanted to cut to the chase, we could have simply said...

Framing it in these simple terms reminds us of our humanness, our realness.  It jolts us back to the realisation that we are inherently disposed to high levels of motivation because of these fundamental human drivers.  We want to feel some control over our lives, be loved, and do our best. To matter.    Leaders can often forget this.

Each person has their own individual motivations. Our mix of these 4 key drivers depends on personality, culture, environment and context. As leaders, it is important to tune our antennae to notice what motivates us and what motivates those we lead. 

With the fragility of the human ego it doesn’t take much for us to lose a bit of motivation.  Conversely with the strength of the human spirit, it does not take much for us to regain it. 

As leaders we can take small actions to help with the latter, such as:

  • Freedom:  let go of the controls and delegate;  share information freely with others;  accept people for who they are not what you want them to be
  • Love:  appreciate, recognise and show gratitude towards people; get them together; encourage collaboration; talk about shared values
  • Success: give people the best opportunity to shine by matching their skills with the task; help them set compelling goals;  cultivate a culture of learning and mastery
  • Making a difference: help people understand how they contribute to the vision; give them ‘whole tasks’ so they can get the big picture and maximise the difference they make.
Here’s to freedom, love, success and making a difference.


Image via google images

Ariely, Dan (2012) What makes us feel good about our work, TEDxRiodelaPlata

Pink, Dan (2010) RSA Animate - Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us,

Lane4 (2010), What’s motivating you? A current look at motivation in the workplace, White Paper

McClelland, D (1961), The Achieving Society, Free Press

No comments:

Post a Comment