Sunday, April 22, 2012

Motivate or Manipulate?

I was running a workshop for managers last week and as often happens in leadership and management courses, a discussion ensued about how to motivate people. As the discussion developed it became increasingly clear that some of the managers, whilst using the term 'motivate others' they actually meant 'manipulate others' into doing things they don't want to do through some form of systematic reward and punishment protocol. The real question was "How do I get people to do what I want them to do".  This often also means "How do I force people to do what I want them to do?"

So I thought I would do a short blog on 'motivation' to highlight the difference between motivation, manipulation and using force of any nature, including rewards and punishments.

My first question is: "What does it feel like to be genuinely motivated to do something?"
Yes that feeling; the excitement and drive. The sense that you really want to do this, often regardless of some extrinsic (external) reward.

My next question is: "What does it feel like to be forced or manipulated into doing something?". Quite a difference my guess is.

It turns out that there are some core factors that create a motivated state:

The main contributing factor to becoming motivated is that the task has to be meaningful to the individual. So what makes something meaningful?

  1. External Validity. Firstly the task has to make sense to the individual on the level that they know how it fits into or contributes to the advancement of some goal. they actually agree with. This may of course include a personal goal such as promotion or inclusion in a CV for example.
  2. Global Validity. If the task passes the individual's external validity test, the task then has to have global validity in that the individual has to believe that this is a good and valid thing to do to. In other words is a worthy cause or goal? Is what they are about to contribute to valued by them.
  3. Internal Validity. Thirdly the individual has to understand what to do and how to it, and feel that their skills and knowledge (expertise) is being utilised correctly and are valued. Basically that they are not being used.
  4. Enjoyment. Lastly will they either enjoy doing it, or enjoy having completed the task, or enjoy the kudos of having been part of the process?

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