The Unknown Motivational Factor

If there is one thing that you can always count on when leading people, it’s that they know how and what motivates them.

The most common motivational factors are family, financial, recognition or career progression, but sometimes it can be something out of the norm. However one thing holds true, everyone has something that intrinsically motivates them.

Great leaders and businesses understand the science behind intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic motivation is where someone is motivated internally. Internal motivation is the most powerful type of motivation and develops an environment for long term sustainable performance.

Extrinsic motivation is where a specific task or behavior is incentivized based on the outcome. External motivation is only good for short term gains, however the downfall to this type of motivation is that it hurts long-term sustainable behaviors.

I had the honor of leading an employee who had been one of the most consistent and successful performers year after year for over 10 years. He won the elite trips and made a lot of money. He wasn't pushing himself outside of his comfort zone to reach his full potential and past what seemed to be his limits.

It was really hard figuring out what his intrinsic motivation was since it wasn't any of the most common motivation factors, until one day we were talking and he showed me a video of a professional football player leading a pregame huddle.

Now let me set this up for you. This gentleman was very timid and reserved. It took me 3 months to get him to have a complete conversation with me. He was not a person who was outspoken, full of energy or passionate. He came in, he got his job done and he went home.

He showed me this video and I was desperate to find something to push him. I had the great idea to ask him if he wanted to lead our huddles since we had one for the openers and closers every day. Now I didn't think he would say yes and I pretty much asked sarcastically. To my amazement he said, “Yeah, I would love too.”

I still didn't know what was going to happen during this huddle, but I did know that I had to let him lead it. The day came for him to lead the huddle and I have never seen so much passion and inspiration come from an individual as I did that day. His face was blood red, he was screaming at the top of his lungs and everyone on the team was ready to run through a wall.

I was in shock, but it was a really good kind of shock. Since that day he has got a lot of recognition for his huddle, he pushed himself outside of his comfort zone and above his perceived limits. He was intrinsically motivated and he had a huge part in the team’s success.

Successful leaders and businesses get to know their people and their motivational factors. Leaders use those motivational factors to intrinsically motivate their people every day by incorporating it into their communication and coaching. Businesses set up their incentives and recognition structure to intrinsically motivate their people.

Ideas To Successfully Motivate Your People

Work/Life Integration - Allow them to have or do the things that are important to them in their personal life at work

Monthly Face-To-Face Meetings - Nothing is more impactful than spending some time every month in a 1x1 setting. Have them bring topics that they would like to discuss, find out how their family and personal life are going, and see if there is anything that you can do to help them.

Meaningful Work - Allow your employees to do meaningful work that motivates them. If that is not in their normal scope of job responsibilities, then give them the ability to choose something that they would like to work on.

Constant Incentives - Create recognition and incentive programs that never stop. Keep your people motivated beyond just their regular salary, bonuses, raises, etc. Change them up often in order to keep them fresh and exciting.

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