Motivation at Work: Six Action Steps for Leaders

People Are Always MotivatedRecent research into motivation has shown us that, at least in the corporate world, we don’t have the complete story. In their latest column for Training Industry Magazine Ken Blanchard and Scott Blanchard share that typical variations of the carrot and the stick—money, incentives, fear, or goal pressure—either don’t work very well or don’t have an enduring quality to achieve lasting motivation.

Drawing on research from Blanchard senior consulting partner Susan Fowler, the two Blanchards explain that a better approach involves looking for ways to connect a task or goal to something deeper and more meaningful. This requires some introspection, as each person comes to work with a different set of values and beliefs and a different set of personal drivers that are unique to them.

And while there are some common factors like Autonomy, Relatedness, and Competence—which are important needs for everyone—more subtle factors, such as Self-Regulation, Personal Values, and Mindfulness also come into play. The more you understand what is important to you and how you react to different motivators, the better able you are to understand how others might react.

Six Action Steps

For leaders ready to get started, the Blanchards point to six action steps from Fowler’s new book, Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work … And What Does

  • Encourage autonomy (perception of choice)
  • Deepen relatedness (quality of relationships, meaning and purpose)
  • Develop people’s competence (sense of growing and learning)
  • Promote mindfulness (capacity to see new options)
  • Align with values (including personal values, not just the organization’s)
  • Connect to a noble purpose (both personal and the organization’s)

Then they pose an important question—to what degree are a leader’s needs being met in each of these six areas—and to what degree are leaders helping others?  You can learn more about the leader’s role in identifying motivators, avoiding common motivational mistakes, and how six different motivational outlooks play out at work by reading the complete article, Check Your Motivation to Lead in the Spring 2015 issue of Training Industry Magazine.

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