Money will only get you so far

What motivates people to act a certain way?

In business, this is one of the main questions leaders need to be asking. How do you motivate your people to do the things you want them to do?

Motivation skills have long been viewed as “soft” skills. However, with the need for companies to be constantly innovating and providing top notch customer service, the ability to inspire and influence employees is a must.

And while business has moved in new directions, our methods for motivating others have remained in the past. Rewards, titles, money and other external motivators remain prevalent. Science has shown us that these external motivators don’t do a good job of creating highly engaged employees, and many times they can lead to the opposite, actually de-motivating people.

The best way to motivate people is to allow them to motivate themselves. Motivation that comes from within (internal motivation) is our inner drive to engage in an activity for its own sake, whether that be because it is fun, interesting, we enjoy it, or find pride or satisfaction in doing it.

It is through internal motivation that employees become truly dedicated to companies. Studies have shown valuing our work just for the work itself is critical to staying committed and engaged. It gives people the drive and endurance to see goals through to the very end. Too many external rewards can dilute this internal passion and erode people’s motivation.

A leader’s job then becomes about creating and maintaining a culture where people find joy, purpose and growth through their work.