Random Practical Wisdom 4

My experience is that leaders (and coaches and parents) are constantly looking for ways to motivate their employees in order to access higher levels of performance. To this end, they come up with new strategies, structures, and systems (like performance management)  to achieve this end. There's certainly nothing wrong with getting the externals right, but they are not the real source of human motivation. What does the research (Deci and Flaste, 1996) of the past 50 or so years  conclude? 

"The best way to motivate people - at work, at school, in sports, or at home - is to support their sense of autonomy." 

We are all inherently interested in the world, so leaders, coaches, and parents need to nurture that interest. This is what drives each of us. Following orders, based on old 'reward or punishment' principles is not the way. Research over the past decades clearly challenge the thinking that each of us is, 'only in it for the money'. So explain the reasons why a task is important, and then give as much personal freedom in carrying out the task as possible. The real motivation question, they say, is, "How can I create the conditions within which people will motivate themselves." 


Jonathan Morton

I started in IT in 1985! I have loved watching the world change. I love to make beautiful websites that do useful things.

I sing baritone in a opera/music theatre ensemble Pot-Pourri (since 1987).

In 2012, I graduate as a teacher of yoga in the tradition of Krishnamacharya.

In 2015, I started keeping bees. I'm always looking for swarms and unwanted nests to provide a good, safe treatment-free home for.