Motivation through Challenges
Individuals are motivated when they are working towards personally meaningful goals. Attainment of those goals must require activity that is increasingly difficult, but attainable. In other words, people like to be challenged, but they must feel their goals are achievable to stay motivated. This can be accomplished by:
Motivation through Curiosity
In this concept of self motivation we are talking about providing something in the individual’s environment that arouses their curiosity. This can be accomplished by presenting the individual with something that connects their present knowledge or skills with a more desirable level – if the person were to engage in a certain activity. So to motivate someone through curiosity, the environment must stimulate their interest to learn more.
Motivation through Control
Most people like to feel they are in control of their destiny. They want to feel in control of what happens to them. To stay motivated, individuals must understand the cause and effect relationship between an action they will take and the result. To motivate individuals through the use of control you can:
Motivation through Fantasy
Another intrinsic motivating factor comes via fantasy. That is individuals can use mental images of things and / or situations that are not actually present to motivate themselves. You can foster motivation through fantasy by helping individuals imagine themselves in situations that are motivating.
For example, if you know that someone is highly motivated by the thought of being in control, then you can talk to them about a future point in time when they might be in charge of a large and important business operation.
Motivation through Competition
Individuals can also be motivated by competition. That’s because we gain a certain amount of satisfaction by comparing our performance to that of others. This type of competition can occur naturally as well as artificially.
When using competition to foster motivation, keep in mind the following:
Motivation through Cooperation
Cooperating with others or the feeling that you can help others is very motivating. Most individuals feel quite satisfied by helping others achieve their goals. As was the case with competition, motivation through cooperation can occur naturally or artificially.
When attempting to use cooperating to motivate, keep in mind:
Motivation through Recognition
Finally, individuals are motivated through recognition. When their accomplishments are recognized by others, then they feel motivated. You need to make sure that recognition is distinguished from competition. With recognition you do not compare their achievements to those of others as you might with a competition.
Extrinsic or External Motivation
As previously mentioned, extrinsic or external motivation is the term used to describe external factors that stimulate our internal motivation. The concept of externally motivating someone is not at odds with the fact that motivation comes from within. The point here is that it is possible to provide others with situations or an external environment that is motivating.
Perhaps the most useful lesson for the leader then becomes how to motivate employees that report directly or indirectly to the leader. If you understand the intrinsic motivational factors previously described, then a game plan can be developed to foster motivation among employees.
Some of the most effective ways for managers and leaders to motivate their staff includes recognition, providing positive performance feedback and by challenging employees to learn new things. Many new managers make the mistake of introducing de-motivating factors into the workplace such as punishment for mistakes or frequent criticisms.
When followers feel they are being supported and they have the ability to remain in control of their workplace they stay motivated. Leaders can foster this feeling by allowing employees to take on added responsibility and accountability for making decisions.
But the important thing to keep in mind is that motivation is individual and the degree of motivation achieved through one single strategy will not be the most effective way to motivate all employees. The most effective way to determine what motivates others is through carefully planned trial and error.