- Where does Motivation Come From?
- Clues to What Motivates Others
Where does Motivation Come From?
External motivation can provide short-term results, but sustainable results come from internal motivation. In the article by Ron Carucci titled, “What Not to Do When You’re Trying to Motivate Your Team”, the author says, “Motivation is not something you do to people. People ultimately choose to be motivated — when to give their best, go the extra mile, and offer radical ideas. The only thing leaders can do is shape the conditions under which others do, or don’t, choose to be motivated. But the final choice is theirs.” Strong leaders understand how people’s needs, goals and values impact their motivation. Below is how I frame the discussion around motivation.
Value: Values are what are important to you and drive your decision making. They represent your deepest desire for what you want to stand for, how you want to relate to the world and how you want to be remembered. These philosophies or beliefs can be ethical, moral, ideological, social or aesthetic. They influence your decisions and life choices and are highly indivualized and have varying degrees of importance.
Needs: Needs are tied to your present circumstances and may be different at different times in your life. Basic life needs like food, water and shelter are similar for most people. How that need is met is temporary or dynamic, whereas values are long-term and tied to your core being.
Wants: Wants are things you can live without. One person wants can be another person’s needs. It is important to not fulfill a want by neglecting a need.
Motivation: Motivation comes from a combination of conscious and unconscious factors. The more self-aware or emotionally intelligent that you are, the easier it is for you to motivate yourself to attain a goal. Motivation draws first upon your desire, but you also must have the energy, perseverance and determination to achieve.
Goal: Goals are observable and measurable end results that you intend to achieve, acquire, do, reach or accomplish within a set timeframe. Goals should be based on your values, personal self-development and fulfillment so they connect you to things that give you greater purpose in life.
Understanding the differences between needs, wants and values are important. If you do not distinguish between your needs and wants, you will focus your efforts on things you would “like to have” over things you “need to have”. If you do not understand the relationship between goals and values, accomplishing goals will not lead to happiness.
Here are some personal examples to help you see the differences. I have a need for personal time to renew my energy levels, but I have a long list of ways I want or wish I could do with that time. One aesthetic value that I have is spending time in other cultures. That value influences my goals. My goal this year was to spend two weeks in Italy, but next year I might change the goal to go to France. The goal can change, but my value is consistent.
Your values are your personal mission statement. Stephen Covey author of Speed of Trust, says that; “No matter what people’s religions, cultures, or backgrounds are, their mission statements all deal with the same basic human needs to live (physical and financial), to love (social), to learn (educational), and to leave a legacy (spiritual).” When you establish value-centered goals you will be internally motivated and will function at a higher level. Covey explains it best, “Motivation is fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you, chances are it will burn very briefly.”
I encourage my clients to make a list of their current goals, including all areas of your life. I then ask them to think about which ones are most important based on their values and which ones are most urgent. Take off any goals that waste time and energy on things that are not important to you. Remember that happiness fuels success and not the other way around.
An executive coach can work with you to identify your current state (strengths, performance, and challenges) and the “perfect” or future state you wish to achieve. Working together, a plan/strategy is developed to bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be. Meeting with your coach on a regular basis for support, guidance and encouragement you work through the co-developed strategy. The coach acts, in a totally confidential manner, much like a navigator and accountability partner while you take the actions necessary to achieve your goals.
As a coach, I don’t only work on the “what,” I also work on the ‘who,’ who you are and want to be. If you’re interested in exploring a coaching relationship, contact Bill Burtch at Harmony for a consultation at 901-272-7390 or [email protected]
Clues to What Motivates Others
Strong leaders try to understand what motivates others and below are some clues to learn what motivates others.
Start from the beginning
Try to understand what motivates the person when you are interviewing them. Ask them to tell you what motivated them in moving from position to position. Ask how they define success and where they want their career to take them. Ask them to describe a situation (work environment or culture) where they were most productive and happy. Ask them to give an example of a manager that they found inspiring and explain the actions and behaviors that manager exhibited. All these questions will give insight into what motivates them.
Look at your work environment
To be successful, your company’s work environment needs to be flexible enough to address the issues most important to a diverse workforce. Employees will place importance on different things. Some examples of them are: relationships, autonomy, communication, recognition and involvement. A one-size fits all approach that does not consider the differences in drivers of motivation will not be successful.
Listen to what people complain about.
When you see someone unsettled, stressed or complaining, take the time to understand what is driving that frustration. While you can’t always solve the disconnect when someone’s values conflict with work, you can evaluate whether there are systemic work issues that are contributing to the problem. If the disconnect is not work, encourage them to take action steps to change the situation for themselves.
Pay attention to people’s support system.
Most people surround themselves with people that support them and understand what they value. Ask yourself if people see you as a good listener. Be careful when giving feedback to not expect people to adopt your values. Develop a mentoring program to create a positive environment that emphasizes learning and development where employees are supported.
Find out what additional training they want.
The training programs people seek out are a reflection of their values. Companies should offer training programs that address soft skills and not just focus on job training. Conflict resolution and effective communication training lead to improved interaction and relationships. Make sure that self-reflection is part of every training program so people learn to notice when the new skills is needed. Also incorporate role-play or practice into the training so they can master the new behaviors before they are needed.
Successful leaders set aside time regularly to get to know the people that work for them on a personal level. They ask non-work-related questions to help create trust and transparency between who they are at work and in life. As a manager, remember that offering support is ongoing and take the time to regularly check-in and ask questions about how things are going.
Strong companies understand all incentives are not viewed the same by everyone. Creating a financial incentive will not inspire the internal motivators if the person is not motivated by money. Look for other ways to motivate people to give more effort, like offering time off to spend time with family if that’s a need/value important to an employee. Employees whose internal motivation and work rewards match will be engaged and have improved performance.
A successful manager taps into talents and resources with the purpose of supporting and bringing out the best in the individual and team. A comprehensive development program to include training, coaching and feedback can help you maximize the human talent present in your company regardless of where they work. If you’re interested in exploring a development program for your organization contact Bill Burtch at Harmony for a consultation at 901-272-7390 or [email protected]