Leadership - What is Motivation?

One of the things that great leaders are able to do well is motivate others. The simple secret to building motivation is to make doing the desired performance more rewarding than doing the undesired performance.
So, let’s look at that. Whenever a person has the choice between two mutually exclusive endeavours, they will always choose to do whatever action appears to be of greater net reward for themselves (this is called the Law of Performance Choice). So, if the undesired performance holds the greater net reward, then this is what they will pursue.
How do we get employees to choose the desired performance? We increase the net reward of doing so. Again, what does this mean? Every performance has an upside (what the person likes about doing it) and a downside (what the person dislikes about doing it). For example, take grocery shopping. A person may dislike having to spend time and money selecting and buying food however they like having yummy things available at home to eat. These days there are a myriad of ways to shop so it is easier to enhance the likes (Upside) and remove the dislikes (Downside) a person may have about grocery shopping.
Going back to motivating your employees you can use a 2-step process. The first step requires you to find out what makes the experience more rewarding for the employee. You can do this by asking them directly or by guessing.
It’s not difficult to guess what to try as most people have the same basic desires and want the same things: to feel good about ourself as a person, to feel good about what we’re doing/achieving, to engage in enjoyable activity, to feel good about where we’re heading (our future) and the earn economic reward for effort (especially ‘extra effort’).
You would then provide them with the desired thing and observe the results. If the intensity or frequency of desired performance increased then you’ve found a motivator for desired performance.
The critical question is how can we make desired performance more rewarding than undesired performance?
Here are the top 10 motivators for great employee performance. The first nine involve expanding the net reward of desired performance:
  • 1. An important achievement
  • 2. A fun time
  • 3. A stress-free pursuit
  • 4. A Recognition – Acknowledgement – Praise (RAP) receiving experience
  • 5. A money-producing endeavour
  • 6. A career advancement opportunity
  • 7. A winning situation
  • 8. A noble cause
  • 9. A selfless act – The final motivator is about decreasing the benefit of undesired behaviour
  • 10. Reduce the net reward of undesired performance.

If you would like to achieve a more highly motivated workforce call one our consultants on (02) 8624 3300 to help you establish a motivational framework to maximise the potential of your employees.