Not Making Progress on that Important Goal or Task? One of These 3 Motivational Outlooks Is Probably to Blame

Little Boy Hoping To Absorb KnowledgeHave you ever found yourself repeatedly procrastinating, not taking action on a task that needs to be done, or not having the boldness to act—even on a good idea? Or have you felt your energy drain away just thinking about an upcoming task, such as conducting performance reviews? Your motivational outlook is probably to blame, says best-selling business author Susan Fowler.

In the latest issue of Ignite! Fowler explains that individuals bring one of six motivational outlooks to any goal or task they face—and that three of the outlooks perform better than the others for generating positive, long-lasting, and consistent energy for getting a job done.

The three optimal motivation outlooks are

Aligned. This is where an individual derives a sense of meaning from the goal or task, is able to align the task with important personal values, and is making a conscious and deliberate choice to do the right thing.

Integrated. This is where an individual is motivated because the goal or task fulfills a deeply felt sense of purpose, or is regarded as a self-defining activity.

Inherent. This is where an individual perceives the goal or task as pure fun and enjoyment.

The three suboptimal motivation outlooks are

Disinterested. This is where an individual feels overwhelmed, cannot find value in the task, or doesn’t have the energy to manage what’s required.

External. This is where an individual is primarily motivated by the promise of a tangible reward or incentive, or the expectation of increased power, status, or respect.

Imposed. This is where an individual is motivated by pressure to perform by either self-expectations or the expectations of others. Their actions are an attempt to avoid feelings of guilt, shame, or disappointment.

The challenge for leaders is to help themselves (and their team members) identify which of the six motivational outlooks is currently in play, shift to one of the more positive outlooks, and then reflect on the impact. Fowler’s research shows that this three-step process leads to greater performance, productivity, and well-being.

You can read the complete article, Motivated Leadership, by checking out the March Ignite! online newsletter.  Be sure to see the link to a free webinar that Fowler will be conducting on 3 Skills for Activating Optimal Motivation at Work. Want to diagnose your own motivational outlook?  Fowler has a short online assessment you can take!

4 thoughts on “Not Making Progress on that Important Goal or Task? One of These 3 Motivational Outlooks Is Probably to Blame

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