Quote: “We are made wise NOT by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.” 

Famous playwright and political activist George Bernard Shaw

Overview: In my work with clients, I often hear people say, “how can I motivate this person to do what they’re supposed to? They’re lazy. They’re unmotivated.” The truth is people are always motivated. They’re just not always motivated to do what YOU want them to do.

What’s occurred generally is that they’re resistant to the well-intentioned but discouraging methods imposed on them in an effort to gain their participation. Leaders must change tactics and make effective transfer of responsibility a top priority. Self-management, initiative and accountability are key and depend heavily on intrinsic motivators – psychological rewards people get from self-management. The four intrinsic motivators are a sense of meaningfulness, choice, competence and progress.

In this episode, I will review four intrinsic motivators. When we dismantle extrinsic or external motivation tactics, we must simultaneously develop intrinsic motivation or internal motivation tactics. These include a:

  • Sense of meaningfulness
  • Sense of choice
  • Sense of competency
  • Sense of progress

Questions to Ponder:

  1. Why do we jump to rescue and enable people rather than assist them in developing task ownership and intrinsic motivation?
  2. Why do we continue to say what people have already heard and already know?

Episode Guest: Tara Gregor 

Tara is the founder and CEO of Breakwell, a resource hub for holistic wellness. Her website (which is breakwellstl.com) expresses what they provide: “Easy Assessable Self-Care for Busy Employees. She also shares that when employee health suffers, your company suffers. Unhappy, unhealthy employees affect:

  • Absenteeism
  • Performance
  • Customer Experience
  • Quality
  • Profit

Tara is THE match.com between those seeking wellness (all types – emotional, social, financial, physical, mental, and career wellness) – and matches them with proven wellness experts and practitioners. What’s amazing about her services is that she uses a Wellness Integration Framework so that she can help primarily businesses assess various wellness areas for their people and then Tara recommends where there are gaps and how to prioritize and then improve them utilizing various wellness subject matter experts.

Tara knows people are complex and that wellness is more than that of our physical bodies alone. Tara and I are not only friends, we are strategic partners. I invited Tara on the show today because in a recent presentation she asked that I deliver for Professional Women’s Association (she is the program chair for that group) she said she appreciated the concept that what we rescue we make weak and that when there’s an under-performer, there’s an over-performing authority figure. That fits in with today’s episode.

Keywords:  extrinsic motivation vs. intrinsic motivation, 

Story: 10-year grandson who didn’t shower was a teachable moment about choice, personal responsibility. Also, there is a story about a person who used a frustration tool with her C-suite executives and how good it was for her to take care of her yard.

Episode Topics:

Review of last episodes: the importance in dismantling the four control models (autocratic, incentives, shaming and praising, over-compensating) and replacing it with a responsibility-based model, inferiority complex, the first three relationships to manage first (self, authorities and peers), four core needs, and emotional intelligence.

In this episode, we focus on:

  • Self-motivation, self-management
  • Organizational barriers
  • Four intrinsic motivators

Self-motivation, self-management: What you protect you make weak.Because of the control models, our prisons are over-crowded. We can be self-aware when we have compassion and know we are worthy.

Organizational barriers: When there’s an under-performing person, there’s an over-performing authority figure. Leaders must make effective transfer of responsibility. We should not assume people are unmotivated, ever. Leaders get scared of the power of their people if they have fear and lack self-worth. Leaders need to know: SLAM – Say Less, Ask More. We often fail initially in this because we were raised this way. Sometimes there is resistance to assessment. You have to have proactive and preventative convictions about the assessment process. Our passion becomes contagious. Too much control burns people out.

Four intrinsic motivators: These are:

  • Sense of meaningfulness: People need to be inspired about what they are doing. It’s not a nice-to-have; it’s a need-to-have. To do this,
    • cynicism must be addressed. Cynicism is a coping mechanism more prevalent in a mediocre culture
    • passions need to be made evident and acknowledged and emotions expressed – be with them in it – what’s your vision?
    • recognizing the connection between their work and the larger purpose of the company. Too often people are detached from their feelings (physical and emotional) and desires
  • Sense of choice: People need to know they have a say. We can’t say “yes” if we can’t say “no.” Autonomy is knowing you can influence your job or your relationships. Leaders can’t afford to skip this for expediency. It will breed toxicity. Most people have not been given these tools and this information.
    • delegating as much as possible to people
    • demonstrate trust in people; train them and then let them go
    • make mistakes ok – encourage initiative and discuss what’s being learned and make sure people know they’re not going to punished or ‘in trouble’
    • give people third options – consider ways for people to make choices within their role and relationships
  • Sense of competency: This is when people have the job skills they need. Make sure you err on the side of over-communicating with people so they have the specifics in being prepared for their roles. This prevents unnecessary stress, and allows them to get masterful quickly. This includes:
    • mentoring people so they can be confident in everything, including their job skills, relationships, etc.
    • training properly
    • provide feedback in a supportive manner so they grow in evaluating themselves
    • recognize and acknowledge skills so people don’t only focus on what they do wrong
    • challenge level should be monitored – give people enough challenge so they are not bored, and make sure they don’t have so much challenge they get overwhelmed and discouraged – ask questions to find out
    • high expectations without comparisons or competition – everyone is different and it’s not fair to do this and it discourages – even the praised person is stressed by this
  • Sense of progress: This is when you pay attention to successes and you celebrate them along the way. Leaders score-keep and cheer for successes
    • tie success to the larger community being served – “because of your work, we were able to get further…”
    • identify short milestones – identify steps along the way
    • how will they celebrate success – find out what is a rewarding way people can celebrate themself and share it with community. Make sure they know how to measure success in a positive way (score-keeping and cheer-leading may be reminding people to only assess their ‘yard’) You want people to be proud of themselves. Do not use incentive and reward systems. These are extrinsic motivators

Resources: There are many articles related to this topic. Judy’s articles on the topic of motivation include:

Visit all of our website.

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