Intrinsic Motivation - Employee Engagement

ORGANIZATIONAL AND BUSINESS

Intrinsic Motivation - Employee Engagement

Leaders do best when they assess their employees Striving Style, their abilitity to strive and whether their dominant need can be met through their work.

American psychologist Henry Murray (1893-1988) described needs as a, “potentiality or readiness to respond in a certain way under certain given circumstances” (1938). This potentiality is in all of us whether we are aware of our needs or not. We are more aware of what we want than what we need. Our consumerism is a testament to this.

Our needs are the source of motivation for our behavior, our engagement with life in the pursuit of our goals and social interaction with others. Our emotions are the fuel with which we seek to satisfy these needs. These are called intrinsic motivators, which come from within and are the true source of motivation. Extrinsic motivation comes from outside of us and is generally based on someone else’s wants and needs. When someone else has to provide the motivation for you to do your work or engage you in your life, it fosters dependency on others and interferes with self-actualization.

I have seen a great shift in organizational life over the past decade. The workforce is more entitled (showing up and expecting to be taken care of) and leaders are working harder than ever to motivate their staff. I have seen senior leaders spend a tremendous amount of time trying to get their team to get excited about the work, acting like a cheerleader, encouraging and praising, with no real change in employee attitude and behavior. Others try to motivate their team with rewards and incentives to achieve a goal. Although this can work in the short term, the results are not long lasting because people were not engaged emotionally in the process. They were working for the reward, not the need satisfaction.

Early conditioning affects our capacity to strive and motivate ourselves from within. We are born with an innate potential that seeks to fulfill itself through need satisfaction. Being able to satisfy our own needs and ambitions gives meaning to our lives. Self-gratification, approval, and recognition, curiosity, self-determination, self-efficacy and individual ambition are a few of the elements of motivation needed to achieve our potential. The motivation to take action and self-actualize is based on inner forces or energy that I call Striving Styles. Many people lose their full capacity to use their predominant striving energies during their early conditioning becoming dependent on others to tell them what they need to do.

Leaders do best when they assess their employees Striving Style, their abilitity to strive and whether their dominant need can be met through their work.

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