In the long term, all of us know that motivation needs to come from within. We also know however, that as leaders – sometimes it doesn’t come from within, and leader as motivator is a role we’d better get comfortable with. It can be frustrating…it can be maddening – and often feels like a shot in the dark.

Perhaps you can become more comfortable if you better understand your options. I have found extrinsic motivation best expressed in terms of what you give – versus what they want:

  • Coercion – Give/Don’t Want. In this first option you are giving someone what they don’t want (aka. punishment). Accept that in rare circumstances one of your options is a negative consequence.
  • Withholding – Not Give/Want. The motivator here lies in not providing what they desire until you receive the behaviors you are looking for.
  • Rescue – Not Give/ Don’t Want. The rescue motivator essentially lies in taking away the pain that another feels. Relieving discomfort can be a strong driver of another’s performance.
  • Reinforcement – Give/Want. This fourth and most effective option directly targets the behaviors you want from another, as opposed to eliminating those you don’t.

Our next release – Motivation Part 2 – will deal with selecting consequences, both positive and negative.