Motivation as a Leadership Competency: 3 Ways to Get Started

The great motivation debate among business leaders has been whether motivation is a trait we are born with or a skill that can be developed. Contemporary research has answered that question; motivation is a skill that can be nurtured and developed in oneself and others. This important finding means that employees at all levels have…

Rethinking 5 Beliefs that Erode Workplace Motivation

Can you fill-in-the-blanks on these common workplace belief statements? It’s not personal, it is just ________. The purpose of business is to _____ _______. We need to hold people ___________. The only thing that really matters is _______. If you cannot measure it, it _________ ________. We have embedded these beliefs so deep in our…

Autonomy or Accountability? 5 Ways to Use Honey Instead of Vinegar to Motivate Employees

Last week I met with a group of sales managers for a national retailer that is doing very well.  Turnover is low.  Same-store sales have been outpacing their peer group for five years.  Quarterly and annual financials have been excellent. The question they were asking was, “How do we keep our people motivated?”  I asked…

Employee Engagement–What’s Love Got To Do With It?

In a recent post for the Harvard Business Review blog, editor Gretchen Gavett reported the latest Gallup research on employee engagement.  In the article, Ten Charts That Show We’ve All Got a Case of the Mondays, we learn—again—that the majority of the U.S. workforce is woefully disengaged and has been for many years.  We read—again—that…

The High Price of Perceived Unfairness—a mini case study

Alexa has been with a global telecommunications company for 15 years, most recently as an upper mid-level leader in the company’s consumer products division. Alexa took her current post in 2010.  That year she led her group to earn Best Retail Operation for the region, going from worst-to-first in a single year.  Along with a…

The High Price of Money (a five-question happiness quiz)

Consider these five statements. True or False? Money cannot buy you happiness. Money may not buy happiness, but it will buy things that make you happy. The more money you have, the happier you are. Seeking wealth, status, or image undermines interpersonal relationships and connectedness to others. Pursuing money or other materialistic values results in…

Optimal Motivation in the Wee Hours

My team and I have been working on a new motivation program that shows leaders how to foster an environment in which employees experience high quality, or optimal, motivation—as opposed to suboptimal motivation based on stress, relentless pressure, aggressive competition, harsh deadlines, and fear. The program explains the link between three basic psychological needs for…

Leading for Optimal Motivation

Research in the fields of social, positive, and industrial/organizational psychology has repeatedly found that employees thrive best in work environments that allow them to think for themselves, and to construct and implement decisions for one course of action or another based on their own thinking and volition.  The research is also clear that we suffer…

A Mini Case Study on Motivation

Can you determine at least three important take-aways in this story from a plant manager in India who recently learned the skill of conducting Motivational Outlook Conversations? On his first day back after his training, the plant manager noticed a Technical Service Executive in the lab having a discussion with an external contractor. While she…