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Combine external and internal motivation

When we think about motivation, people tend to be motivated by a combination of external and internal factors.

External factors are things managers can directly control, like wages, bonuses, benefits package, titles, and special privileges. External factors also include intangibles, such as an emotionally safe work environment and necessary tools and resources.

But studies show that leaders can’t rely solely on bonuses or benefits for motivation. Not to mention that there are some studies which indicate that bonuses and performance incentive actually decrease work performance. They need to support their teams in deriving satisfaction and fulfillment from their work by addressing certain internal factors.

These include the desire for:

  • Autonomy—the ability to direct our own lives
  • Mastery—the ability to improve at something that matters
  • Purpose—the ability to work in service of a greater objective

When employees are able to meet their needs in these areas, they tend to be motivated, productive, and happy and able to contribute their best to your team and organization.


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