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Motivation is Unique to Each Employee

Tue,Jul 19,2016 @ 10:11 AM

We have a very interesting relationship with work. How often to we hear people say "I have to go to work Monday" as if its a death sentence? What this really means is people are not connected or motivated by what they do.

There are 4 levels of motivation and its vital managers know where each employee lies within the spectrum of these levels so they can understand how to motivate their team members. Here are levels of motivation as noted by the book The Progress Principle:

  1. Intrinsic - This is somebody who is motivated within the job. This type of person wants to do things better within the framework of the job and does not necessarily do the job seeking the next step or promotion from within an organization.
  2. Extrinsic - This is somebody who is motivated by doing the job now successfully as a steppingstone for something bigger, typically something such as a promotion or career advancement move.
  3. Relationship Driven - This type of person would prefer to collaborate or work within groups.
  4. Independent Driven - This type of person would prefer to work independently and not work or collaborate within groups.

Now as we think about the four levels of motivation about a person they are either intrinsic or extrinsic and they are either relationship or independent driven. Why would knowing this mean so much to a manager? Here is a typical scenario we just encountered with the client. We had a manager who kept preaching to his group and to specifically one employee if they continue to perform better they were going to be eligible for the next promotion. After seeing the employees reaction we gave the manager a few coaching questions to ask and what he found out was really quite interesting. Seven of his 10 people had no interest in promotions or going into any type of management as a future endeavor; therefore, his attempt to motivate was really demotivating because it scared the employees they were going to be pushed into something they did not seek or want. This is something that I call two ships passing in the dark for one party is assuming another parties going to be motivated by something.

The key to motivating employees is to use a foundation of really good coaching questions. These questions can be quite simple in nature but think of their value based in the prior example of how a manager and employee can literally become two ships passing in the dark. Here are a few coaching questions that you can use to ascertain each and every employee's level of motivation:

  1. If you had your way would you prefer to work with a group of people or independently?
  2. Assuming that you accelerate within your job would your choice be to learn the next best thing within the job or maybe a higher level position within the organization?
  3. On a scale of 1 to 6 with six being you really are excited and one being you're not very excited what if I were to tell you you would be in alignment with the next promotion were would you rate yourself? This question helps indicate where they are in terms of being intrinsic or extrinsic.

So often we hear upper-level management state things such as you have to motivate your people. While I think this statement is true I think we need to make a much more fundamental effort by telling managers you need to understand what motivates your people.

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Tim Hagen

Written by Tim Hagen

Tim Hagen founded Progress Coaching, a Training Reinforcement Partner Company, in 1997. His entrepreneurial career began in college leading to positions in sales, sales management, and sales training for small and large corporations, and eventually ownership of several training companies. He possesses a unique combination of hands-on experience, academics, and innovative insight to solve the industry’s most common challenges. Tim holds a bachelor’s degree in Adult Education and Training from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

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