Motivation is such a nebulous and ambiguous concept. Here's why I say that. Many managers and leaders will attempt to motivate employees based on their own values and principles when in fact they often do not know specifically what motivates another person. How do we go about ascertaining what motivates people? Here are three high-level concepts that are from a fantastic book called the Progress Principle by Teresa Amabile:
- Intrinsic motivation- this is where employees are motivated by the actual job or task at hand. They are not necessarily motivated by how the job helps them in their next career move.
- Extrinsic motivation-this type of motivation indicates the employee will do the job or task as a mechanism to facilitate their next career move or promotion.
- Relationship driven motivation - relationship motivation is when people feel most motivated because are engaged in working with others.
- Independent driven motivation - this is where an employee might be intrinsically or extrinsically motivated but prefer to work on their own.
Motivating other people cannot be based on assumptions, rather it needs to be with the specific understanding of who the employee is, what motivates them, and how to go about using that understanding to drive activities that continue to motivate.
Check out this audio on what motivates employees.