How Motivation Really Works

don't fear perfection

don’t fear perfection

One of the signs of great leadership is the ability to help people perform at high levels, long-term.  Fear can be a powerful motivator for the short-term, but in time it loses it’s power and it cannot help people be their best.  Fear shuts people down and if the fear and pressure are too great, it shuts people down completely.  This is a scientific fact.  Brain imagery studies show that when too much pressure, stress, or fear is applied the circuits of the brain stop connecting and firing and go into shut-down mode.

How Motivation Really Works

Daniel Pink and Susan Fowler both use the same basic research in their books on motivation and the research shows there are 3 main factors in human motivation.

1. Autonomy.  People want the freedom to manage themselves and do work the way that best fits them.  Micro-managing does not work and actually hinders top performance.

2. Relatedness or Relationships.  We are social beings, even the introverts among us.  Everyone does better if they have some supportive, positive relationships at work.

3. Competence or Mastery.  We all want to succeed in life.  We all want to improve, develop, and be good at what we do.  Help people get in the right roles and get the right training so they can excel and their motivation will soar.

Naturally, there are many aspects to each of these Big Three, but if you look at those you lead and ask yourself how you can help people experience them, you will create an environment for a motivated team or organization.

Einstein said, “Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler.”    The longer I live and work with people, the more I’m convinced that the most powerful and useable ideas are always expressed in simple terms.

In order to use information, you have to be able to remember it and making it simple, like these 3 factors, does both.

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