What Motivates Employees

to Give Their Best?

Desperation certainly gets people out of bed in the morning. Here's what you can to do tap into what motivates employees to perform at their best

Have you read the previous article in this - Workplace Motivation series? Reading about what gets people out of bed (inspiration and desperation), will put the rest of this article into context.

So, if Inspiration gets people out of bed with a spring in their step, what about Desperation? Well, desperation will certainly get them moving .... sluggishly.

Desperation is generally temporary and spurred by the, "I'll do this to get that, (or get rid of that)" mentality and is mostly driven by external motivators.

External Motivators are factors such as money, recognition, status, approval from others, etc. For example, a person may work longer hours to receive an overtime payment. They might do the work competently, but the minute the overtime funds are withdrawn the person will no longer be motivated to work the longer hours.

Desperation doesn't provide the drive for explosive success ... people simply do enough to get rid of the pressure of feeling "I have to do this".

And that's the difference from Inspiration.

Instead of "I want to do this" people motivated by Desperation are acting because they feel, "I have to do this. If I had my choice, I'd be doing xyz"

Being externally motivated means the person anticipates greater pleasure from the reward than from the actual completion of the task/activity.

Contrast this with a person whose motivation is internally driven and operates with a sense of interest and joy in the job they are doing. They will work the longer hours regardless of whether there is money attached to it. They do it because it brings them pleasure.

Using the quadrant below look at how different levels of inspiration and desperation cause people to operate at work. You can figure out what you need to do to motivate and inspire others - once you work out which quadrant they are operating from.

Internal-External Inspiration-Desperation

Duty Quadrant

The person who operates from the Duty Quadrant does their job ... maybe not with brilliance or inspiration ... but does it sufficiently. Their personal values system (internal motivation) ensures they comply with the requirements of the workplace and the job.

Their thinking is something along the lines of "This is what they are paying me to do, so I'll just get the job done."

They possibly go beyond the minimum requirements, but probably don't offer any great brilliance. They more than likely feel obligated by their own inner voice (You HAVE to do this because it is the right thing to do) - which can at times be far more demanding than any person on the outside!

Fear Quadrant

The person who operates from the Fear Quadrant feels they have to act ... otherwise bad things will happen.

"I have to have a job; otherwise I'll end up on the street."

Fear people do just enough to keep their job. They comply simply because they want the money and believe they haven't any other options available to them. They believe they are trapped and can often become resentful toward the organization, their leaders, their work-mates and their circumstances. This shows up in how they do their work and treat those around them.

Respect/Love Quadrant

The person operating from the Respect/Love Quadrant is possibly working hard at their job, yet again not because they want to be there, but because they want to provide the best for themselves and others.

If you ask them, they may say "Yes I'd rather be doing ... but this is how I can create the life that I want - I want to be able to put my kids through private education and university, I want to go on great holidays". They are often studious but lack the sparkle that comes from someone living in the Passion Quadrant.

Passion Quadrant

The person operating from the Passion Quadrant is doing the job because they love it.

They love the work they do or the organization they are working for.

For example, some people feel so passionate about saving wildlife that they would do any job in that industry and be committed to doing whatever it takes to help the organization be successful - regardless of pay and conditions.

The Passion Quadrant is where values, skills, passions and the work you do all collide in the most wonderful way. This is where you become the best in your field. Who do you know is passionate about what they do ... Steve Jobs, Anita Roddick, Richard Branson, Jerry and Esther Hicks, Jamie Oliver, Steve Irwin, Tony Hsieh, Jane Goodall.

Being motivated by passion and inspiration increases your own happiness and also your ability to persuade and influence, motivate and inspire others: your passion becomes contagious.

Passion gives the most sustainable energy.

Fear gives the least.

But fear is better than nothing. It at least gets you out of bed! But, who wants to live like that? If you think you are operating from anything but the Passion Quadrant then maybe the e-book, Inner Source Leadership, might help you to discover your passion!

For more details on what motivates employees and how to create a work environment that motivates and inspires others then access "How To Motivate Employees". (This product is currently undergoing a rewrite and will be available soon)

So now we understand what gets them out of bed, and with this in mind, let's take a look at some specific strategies you can use for successful employee motivation.

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Part 1


Part 2


Part 4


Part 5


Part 6


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