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The Key to Self-Motivation and Employee Motivation

The Key to Self-Motivation and Employee Motivation

By: Kim Zoller and Kerry Preston, co-authors of Enhancing your Executive Edge: How to Develop the Skills to Lead and Success (McGraw-Hill Education, 2014)

Take a minute and think about the following questions.

  • What motivates you?
  • How do you motivate others?
  • What sabotages your motivation?

The major difference between self-motivation and motivating others is that you can do one but you can’t do the other.

With that being said, we all are self-motivated when we relate to what we are doing. So if you are trying to help motivate someone, framing your message so it is in the other person’s best interest may be motivating to that person.

If you look at how you motivate yourself, it most often varies at any given time. What makes you feel motivated one moment may not make you feel motivated the next.

A friend who was researching and studying motivation told me (Kim) that it really boils down to the common denominators of feeling confident and knowing what you’re doing and of being self-directed and knowing that what you are doing has relatedness in your world.

Get your Daily Dose of Motivation
A daily dose of motivation can really energize you. The key is knowing what drives you at any given time.

In terms of tasks, it means taking time to identify what you really want to happen. This allows you to have a goal. Let’s face it; nothing is worse than feeling like you wasted time and didn’t accomplish anything.

Once you know what is driving you, it helps to know what purpose it serves in your life. Ask yourself:

  • How will this help me?
  • How will this help others?
  • How will this help the team?
  • How will this help the company?
  • How will this help the environment?

If you want to have an edge, keep track of the purpose and the impact in a log. It really helps when you share data that have been documented over a long period of time.

How to Motivate Others
When other people recognize the purpose and feel as though they have been involved in defining the purpose, they have a greater sense of buy-in and commitment. When do you allow others to reclarify what they see as the purpose of a project?

So often when departments experience changes in process or people, it makes a huge impact to allow the people on the team to discuss what they see as the purpose. Value is also right behind purpose when it comes to feeling motivated.

Every so often I (Kim) hit a wall at work. We all do. I recently felt like I was stuck in a rut and not excited about the content I was sharing. At the same time, others in the company were feeling the same tired feeling. We decided to make a change.

We partnered with a graphic designer to help us create new learning maps for our training sessions. The entire team felt motivated to start using our new tools. It was a win-win for everyone involved.

Making Motivation a Consistent Practice
Several years ago, an article in Psychology Today described what motivation is in clear and practical terms. The author described motivation as follows:

  • An internal or external drive that prompts a person to action
  • The ability to initiate and persist toward a chosen objective
  • Putting 100 percent of your time, effort, energy, and focus into your goal attainment
  • Being able to pursue change in the face of obstacles, boredom, fatigue, stress, and the desire to do other things
  • The determination to resist ingrained and unhealthy patterns and habits
  • Doing everything you can to make the changes you want in your life

We are ultimately intrinsically motivated by three components:

  • Knowing where we fit — our piece of the puzzle
  • Being competent in what we do
  • Being autonomous to some degree

Do the members of your team know:

  • Where they fit, or are they just told to do things?
  • How to continue growing within their positions?

When leading a company, having a pulse on employee motivation is key. Asking for feedback on what is fueling a project or person can be a strong conversation starter.

Take time to understand what strengths individuals feel they have and what contributions they have made in order to build motivation.

From Enhancing your Executive Edge by Kim Zoller and Kerry Preston, excerpted with permission from Mc-Graw-Hill. Copyright 2014.


Author Bios:
Kim Zoller
and Kerry Preston are the authors of Enhancing Your Executive Edge: How to Develop the Skills to Lead and Succeed (McGraw Hill, 2014). They are partners at Image Dynamics, a professional development organization that collaborates with companies to develop their people and processes by providing results-oriented training solutions, customized training programs, advanced executive coaching, and long-term strategic development. Follow them at @idimage.