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Embracing and Understanding the Power of Motivation in the Workplace

Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want because they want to do it.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower

One of the fundamentals of effective leadership is discovering what motivates your team. Of course, there is no cookie-cutter approach to this process. Some individuals are motivated by recognition, monetary incentives, or rewards. A true leader will diligently seek to uncover the elements of their team’s motivation.


I will answer this question with a resounding YES!! Long gone are the days of using a paycheck as the sole incentive for employees to come to work. Employees are seeking a sense of ownership in their daily work and career. Motivation encourages employees to assist in meeting company goals, increases productivity, and employees are happier at work.

I often refer to Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory to explain the importance of motivation. Frederick Herzberg introduced his Two-Factor Theory in the 1960s. Herzberg’s theory breaks down workplace needs into two factors: Motivation Factors and Hygiene Factors.

Motivation Factors allow employees to have a sense of contentment through recognition, autonomy, and advancement. Hygiene factors resolve the essential requirement of stability, job security, and compensation. Hygiene Factors are effective in reducing employee dissatisfaction but neglects to motivate. Therefore, employers are now faced with the challenge of boosting employee motivation while simultaneously increasing hygiene factors. If the application of this theory results in an efficient, productive, and positive team, then it is worth it.


In a perfect world, all employees would be instantly motivated and excited to work all day, every day. However, that is not reality. Unfortunately, employees are not clones, but rather individuals with unique talents, skills, and drive. Organizations with a deep understanding of the different types of motivations usually develop a healthier connection with employees, improve employee engagement, and increase employee satisfaction.

Intrinsic motivation simply means that an individual is motivated from within. These individuals are driven by their personal beliefs, acceptance, integrity, and strong willingness to succeed. They often thrive off of praise and positive feedback. In contrast, extrinsic motivation describes someone who is motivated by external factors. Rewards, recognition, and perks are the drivers for their success.


If you want to know what motivates your employees, all you have to do is ask.

>Have a conversation with your employee. Discuss what they love about their job and any ongoing challenges.

>Conduct an online survey. These surveys are useful for employees who may feel intimidated speaking with their manager directly

>Have fun at work. A fun and positive work environment allow employees to express themselves freely.

>Create a Career Roadmap. Some employees are visionaries and are motivated by a custom career plan that fits their goals.

Organizations must help their employees understand that their work is essential. It is time to ignite the fires and passions in employees and remind them that they are assets to the team. Only then will employers experience the benefits of a motivated team.


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