Known to be LinkedIn users’ favourite topic, motivation borders closely with productivity, both individually and as part of a team, so is clearly a popular topic on a professional social – so popular that I must see about 10 posts a day on the subject. Although these people make it seem as though it’s a fairly straightforward process, motivation is something that seems simple, but is actually rather intricate in its make-up – it’s never as easy as “just do it,” no matter what Shia LeBeouf or your favourite LinkedIn influencer says.
Motivation borders closely with numerous aspects of developing and maintaining a positive work life; the reason for that being extremely simple: when you’re motivated, you’re more productive, you’re happier and it all just seems to fit and work a little better. Your work ethic and motivation is more than just finding the nuts to get out of bed and into the office each morning, it’s about continuing to push yourself further and further – not settling for where you’re at, or the position you’re filling.
“Gentleness doesn’t get work done unless you happen to be a hen laying eggs.”
- Coco Chanel
Whether you’re reading this as a manager hoping to implement and inspire motivation to your team, or as an employee looking to motivate yourself, you’re one of two things: intrinsically motivated, or extrinsically. What’s the difference, I hear you cry?
“Some authors have defined intrinsic motivation in terms of the task being interesting, while others have defined it in terms of the satisfactions a person gains from intrinsically-motivated task engagement.” – Richard M. Ryan, Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations, 2000
Being intrinsically motivated is more to do with the enjoyment and emotional gain you get from a task, rather than anything external. So, to hypothesise that into your work-life, is your work more about what you’re doing, emotional reward rather than materialistic gain, and is that why you’re motivated to continue? Or is it more to do with the trust from your employer and more responsibility in your role?
“Extrinsic motivation is a construct that pertains whenever an activity is done in order to attain some separable outcome. Extrinsic motivation thus contrasts with intrinsic motivation, which refers to doing an activity simply for the enjoyment of the activity itself, rather than its instrumental value.” - Richard M. Ryan, Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations, 2000
When comparing the two, extrinsic is most easily explained as materialistic gain from the task or role you’re doing for work. The most convenient example of this is financial gain – if you’re extrinsically motivated by money, then financial incentive in yours or your employee’s role will lead to higher productivity.
A perfect example of a manager tapping into an extrinsically motivated individual happened right here, at Priority. When one of our employees started here, he was uniquely motivated by the possibility of owning a Mustang eventually. Dan Franklin, being the inspirational manager he is, quickly identified the extrinsic motivation preference and thought it was important for the employee to visualise his success. The next day, Dan came in with a little toy Mustang for his desk for daily motivation and reminder as to what he’s striving towards.
As with most of these blog posts, motivation of yourself, and indeed individual members of your team, is subjective. Motivation, although perhaps intricate in its nature, is not complicated (once you know what motivates the individual). When extrinsically motivated: find your motivation, abuse it, set targets, set goals; reward said goals and targets once achieved; then, set new goals, set new targets. Keep going. If you’re intrinsically motivated, identify what it is about your role that is so rewarding, if you’re motivated by the possibility of progression and more responsibility, put a plan in place with your manager; if you’re motivated by emotional gain, do more of it!
What are you waiting for? Go and have that conversation. Increase your own, or your team’s, motivation today!