Publicerad av 2015-11-27


Effective motivation


Extrinsic motivation

We are often asked how to motivate staff. We can motivate someone by rewarding, flattering or even threatening them in other words with the carrot or the stick.

Ever since the factory assembly line was introduced by Frederick Winslow Taylor over one hundred years ago extrinsic motivation has been used as the main method of motivating staff. Extrinsic motivation works best when the task at hand is simple, doesn’t require the brain to be engaged and is easy to follow up.

Today, abstract factors like emotional involvement and intellect are required in the workplace.

Intrinsic motivation

In order to get employees to use their creativity to solve problems intrinsic motivation is also needed. By intrinsic motivation I mean that employees do something because they want to, not because they have to. Motivation comes from within.

Intrinsic motivation can´t be forced but it can be induced. As a leader think about how you affect the intrinsic motivation of your staff.

Intrinsic motivation is affected by:

  • Independence
  • Meaning
  • Competence
  • Relations


If we humans feel that our freedom is being restricted we react in a negative way. Micromanagement usually has a negative impact on motivation.


Most of us know that not all tasks are fun and even the boring ones have to be done. Problem arises when the boring tasks also feel pointless. It is also important to explain why something has to be done and create clarity. Lack of clarity creates stress.


Just feeling competent in what you are doing increases motivation, as does feeling appreciated. The value of “management by walking around” and showing employees that you see their good work is often underrated.


Our brains are made to relate to other human beings. That’s why good relations at work are so important for a creative environment. The more alone an employee feels the more negative is the impact on performance and the ability to communicate with others.


By focussing on intrinsic as well as extrinsic motivation it is possible to increase commitment in a cost-effective way.

Intrinsic motivation is not about selling or persuading but more about listening and communicating.