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Motivation. The one thing that is needed for everything you do. Don’t want to clean up your dinner but want a clean kitchen? You do it because you are motivated by a clean kitchen. That is a very simple example that most can relate to. This takes intrinsic motivation. It is something you want.

What about when it comes to motivating other people? As a boss or supervisor, providing extrinsic motivation is what keeps your people doing a good job.

Motivation is the general willingness to do something and comes in the form of intrinsic (from within) and extrinsic (outside factor) motivation. By doing X, you will get Y.

When you are offered a job, you are offered a salary. Your salary is an extrinsic motivator. This is the stick and carrot model. “You do that for me and I’ll give you this” scenario.

Offering praise and recognition are extrinsic motivators. This type of motivation is tied to an outside source.

You might be asking why motivation is important. The reality is, motivation is critical to an organizations success. If employees are not motivated, they aren’t engaged. If they aren’t engaged, they are doing the minimal amount of work along with lower quality work, and in the end, they won’t stick around long.

The other day I was talking to a client and they said “I’m struggling with knowing how to motivate certain team members. Some are just thankful to have a job but others are struggling in this current climate. How do I connect with those people?”

My response was very simple, I told him, “Build relationships.”

By building relationships, you have a greater sense of who someone is. You become more aware of how they work and can bring forth forms of motivation that work for them.

Motivation When it Comes to Theories

There are many types of motivation theories out there. Theories are great, but it really matters what each person believes to be a motivator is what is going to get them to want to do their job better.

Some motivational theories out there say the following:

  1. Goal setting: When the goal is specific and challenging, it can increase motivation and result in higher performance.
  2. Job Design: Create a job that is challenging and demanding. 
  3. Equality: They need to believe that they are getting back in return for what they are putting out at work.
  4. They need to believe that the work they are doing is going to provide the right outcome and lead to a certain level of performance.

Examples of Ways to Motivate

Theories are great, but here are some examples of things that can motivate employees in today’s every changing, global environment.

  1. Creating a flexible work schedule so employees can tend to their whole life, not just their work life. This could include working from home, compressed workweeks, flextime, or job sharing.
  2. Provide professional and personal development opportunities.
  3. Performance bonuses and raises when applicable.
  4. Creating opportunities for employees to volunteer together during work hours. Once a quarter for a few hours might make all the difference in the world.
  5. Social gatherings once a quarter. I had one job where we did ice cream sundae Friday once a quarter. It was something fun that wasn’t work related, and it created a social time for us to get to know one another better. Sometimes, it is about the employee lunch.

Discover How To Motivate Employees

Everyone is motivated in different ways. The ideas above are just ideas to get your wheels spinning. One way to really know what motivates them, is to ask them! Conduct an anonymous survey, ask for their feedback, and then take steps to implement some of them.

How have you been motivated as an employee in the past? Comment and let me know!


I empower business leaders, creatives, and entrepreneurs to develop their leadership skills, develop workflows that are beneficial for them, and to create work-life integration so they live a life they love. Set up a free 30 minute consult if you are ready to up your leadership game. Click Here.

If you are a leader or emerging leader who wants to lead with meaning and purpose, then let’s connect. Join me at the Emerging Leaders Network (a community on Facebook) community designed for leaders to collaborate on best practices and discuss issues to become great leaders.

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Stephanie German is a leadership coach and consultant, author, and adjunct professor. She holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership and loves giving back to her community in a variety of ways. When she’s not coaching clients or writing about leadership, Stephanie is usually headed to the mountains or the beach with her family, drinking savory wine, or working on the latest project with her husband. Stephanie’s greatest desires are to raise up the next generation of leaders while raising her own children to be strong, independent, and brave. She lives in Fresno, California with her husband Blake and her three spunky daughters, Cara, Kinsey, and Peyton. She is the best-selling author of So Your Boss Can’t Lead?

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