Motivating Your Staff: Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation

Motivating Your Staff Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation

Dwight Eisenhower said, “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want because he or she wants to do it.” Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone had such passion, commitment and enthusiasm about their work that they just performed without having to be told? Well it’s possible! But first you must find out what motivates your people. In Daniel Pink’s TED Talk “The Puzzle of Motivation” he talks about intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation in the workplace.

  • Intrinsic motivation – involves engaging in behavior because it is personally rewarding; essentially, performing an activity for its own sake rather than the desire for some external reward.
  • Extrinsic motivation – occurs when we are motivated to perform a behavior or engage in an activity to earn a reward or avoid punishment.

Daniel argues against old models of motivation driven by rewards and fear of punishment. He concludes that human motivations are intrinsic and can be divided into three aspects: autonomy, mastery and purpose.

  • Autonomy – The urge to direct our own lives
  • Mastery – The urge to get better
  • Purpose – To be part of something meaningful

Ways to improve:

  • Autonomy – Give employees the freedom they deserve, do NOT micromanage
  • Mastery – Encourage creativity and create a rigorous training program
  • Purpose – Remind employees why they’re doing what they’re doing – reinforce your company why/mission statement.

Motivators are not a one size fits all. Take the time to find out what motivates your staff and great performance will be your outcome.

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