Develop Self-Motivation

The most effective system of motivation is based on the satisfaction of individual needs. Become sensitive to the needs of the people you wish to motivate and help them fill their ever-expanding appetites for achievement, recognition, self- expression, and a sense of belonging. True motivation comes from within and is the responsibility of the individual. You can, however, create a climate in which people are more likely to develop self-motivation and direct it toward personal productivity on the job.

No single test or formula can consistently and accurately predict the intricate patterns of human desire, emotion, and reasoning. Only one prediction is certain, and this is how even apparently illogical and unreasonable behavior always has a cause. People may not consciously understand their own actions, but one sure principle is woven throughout the complicated pattern of thought and feeling: all human action is aimed – effectively or ineffectively – at satisfying some need.

Simple human needs are: air, food, water, rest and sleep, sexual satisfaction, freedom from worry, and reduction of tension. Biological needs cannot always be clearly distinguished from psychological or social needs. For example, you could satisfy your need for food with a hamburger and glass of milk at each meal and stay alive; but you prefer variety from meal to meal. Obviously, you are motivated by needs other than the pure biological need for food. This same principle operates when you buy a home or look for a new automobile. Factors other than shelter from the elements or the ability to move from one place to another enter into your choices.

Psychological needs are equally as strong in their motivational force as physical needs, and when physical needs are fairly well satisfied, psychological needs become even more important. The needs for self-esteem, acceptance, status, and security are so important that people often voluntarily take extreme risks to keep or acquire one of these. But different people use different approaches to fulfill the same needs.

Everyone needs self-respect. Your recognizing the achievement of individuals is more powerful than you may imagine. When you help people increase their self-esteem or their status among their peers, you add a new dimension of power and effectiveness to your position. You automatically gain their respect and loyalty, and they will work hard to accomplish anything you ask of them. In contrast, those who destroy the self-respect of others are progressively destroying the possibility that these individuals will make any special effort to be productive.

A team often provides the means for satisfying the need for social approval and the feeling of belonging. Team members act or fail to act in order to win or hold the approval of co-workers, family, and friends. As with other psychological needs, social approval may be sought in various ways. Self-image and the characteristics of the group to which one looks for support determine what actions are taken in an effort to win approval.

Helping people to see how their needs are being met through productive work on the job builds the satisfaction derived from doing work well and being compensated fairly. If the company deals fairly with employees and customers alike, produces a worthwhile, high-quality product or service, and recognizes the contribution of every person, everyone takes pride in being associated with the company.

Leadership Management® Institute
Reprinted with permission


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