What makes people take action?

Is it something intrinsic? Is it something extrinsic?

Are we motivated by punishment or by reward?

Does motivation comes from profound words layered over a picture of a lion on an Instagram account about becoming a hustle billionaire?

Such inspire!

Is it wads of cash, lambos, watches, scantily clad women in bikinis or men with six-pack abs? Is it saying nice things, or buying pizza on alternating Fridays? What is the actual secret to unlocking a person’s motivation? Tell me!

Today, we’re going to dive deep into this complex topic and explore the mysteries of what makes humans spur into action. Buckle up, we’re about to get motivated.

The Leader’s Guide to Motivation

Leaders and managers everywhere want to know, how can I get people to do what I need them to do? How can I get them to do what I want? The answer may surprise you.

You can’t.

What you can do, however, is get them to do what they want to do. The truth is the secret to motivating people starts with a profoundly simple premise: Understand what THEY want.

Note that I said focus on what they DO want, not what they DON’T want. Environments where people are constantly seeking to avoiding pain or discomfort is not one they tend to stay in. Coercion, threats, or intimidation are not solid long term strategies. By contrast, people tend to stick around when they have the ability to grow and pursue their own goals.

Beyond knowing everyone’s names, job titles and responsibilities, as a leader you need to know what they value, what they believe, what they care about, and what they want in their life. Equipped with this information, you can find where your needs align with their goals.

If you can’t figure out how to motivate someone on your team, then your problem is simple: you don’t understand what they want. It’s either that, or what they want will never align with what you need. If that’s the case, you should work with them to find a role that better suits them while you look for someone who wants something that aligns with what you need. If not, then get curious and find out more about what they want.

Motivation is quite simple. People move because they want something. That’s it. This isn’t complicated.

Bottom line: Just remember that everyone is on their own path and your job as a leader is find where your paths overlap and point in the same direction.

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