Ever wonder why employee motivation tends to ebb and flow? The reason may surprise you.
Leaders who try to motivate their staff end up with a less motivated workforce. It is actually impossible to motivate someone, since being motivated is an individual choice, an act of freewill. Any attempts at motivating others becomes counterproductive, especially over time, as employees quickly learn they don’t have to take responsibility for their own initiative. This creates an unhealthy, dependent relationship and a vicious cycle, as pictured below.
What’s working, and working well, is when leaders form an interdependent relationship with their teams. The job of leaders, in this healthy scenario, is to create an environment that promotes the opportunity, platform, and likelihood that employees will be inspired to take action, often even exceeding expectations.
Motivation is an inside job—existing inside the minds and bodies of each individual. Sustainable motivation only happens when managers create opportunities for inspired work, hold people responsible for taking initiative, and employees follow through and do their part.
This Week’s Radical Accountability Activating Action: Take time this week to ascertain how much you’re trying to motivate versus creating an environment where people take full responsibility for their own motivation.
Workshop Opportunity: I’ll be running a special leadership workshop at the TechServe Alliance conference next week in Boca Raton. If you’ll be attending, I invite you to join me.
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