A lot of times we hear that leadership is all about motivating others and there are a variety of opinion on what the best way is to motivate others. If you’ve been checking out this site for a while, you know that we are very skeptical of one-size-fits-all solutions. At Evil Genius Leadership Consultants we normally advocate for doing your own research on a topic and pulling the best practices together to create your own approach. Choosing an approach towards getting your team all moving in the same direction is no different. Based on organizational behavior research we approach the idea of motivation from a different perspective; not by looking for a method or process to motivate others, but by understanding how human beings are motivated to behave the way they do.

Understanding Motivation vs. Motivating Others

The research tells us that every human being is motivated both intrinsically and extrinsically to varying degrees. Intrinsic motivation is that motivation is felt when task performance serves as its own reward. Put another way, this is the idea of personal satisfaction for a job well done. Extrinsic motivation is motivation controlled by some contingency that depends on task performance. This is the idea of increased pay, bonuses, benefits or other rewards based on results. The contingencies could also be negative, like getting fired or disciplined for not meeting a minimum standard.

It’s tempting to think that intrinsic motivation is better than extrinsic motivation but it’s more reasonable to approach the idea from the perspective that everyone is both intrinsically and extrinsically motivated to some degree. Our job as leaders is to get to know the people on our team and understand this mix of motivational behavior in each individual. Once we understand what makes each person on our team tick, we can find creative ways to appeal to both their intrinsically and extrinsically motivated sides to enhance their performance and make the team stronger.

Check out the video for some detailed ways you can appeal to your team members intrinsically and extrinsically motivated sides.

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