It’s common knowledge that people with high motivation tend to perform better than those with less motivation. Moreover, leaders have always looked for ways to motivate their people and create a high level of commitment. This is true in all organizations, including businesses, sports, government, non-profits, schools, and more.
In the workplace, I personally find Daniel Pink’s conclusions to be very useful. In his book Drive, Daniel Pink suggests that motivation is driven by three elements: Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose.
Autonomy. Define people’s role such that they have a clear sense of ownership. Also, empower them to take actions and make decisions within their roles. It should also be clear to them how their role contributes to the team’s (or company’s) overall goals.
Mastery. Enable them to develop (through training, learning, and experience), to become good at what they do, and to realize their professional goals.
Purpose. Have a clear sense of purpose. Something that they care about, take pride in and inspired by. Something that’s bigger than their personal goals.
While all three elements are critical for motivating your people, I think purpose carries more weight. It can inspire and motivate even those who are outside of your organization, for example: your customers. A shared purpose is a strong motivator.
Nilofer Merchant correctly writes that ‘purpose is also a better motivator than money. Money, while necessary, motivates neither the best people, nor the best in people. Purpose does.’
And There is One More
I would also like to add one other strong motivator: Value.
I believe that people want to feel that they bring value, to their companies, to their families, friends, or teams. We all want to feel that what we do makes a difference—has value. We also want to be recognized for providing value and appreciated for that.
When we feel valuable we have more confidence, and we tend to perform better. Conversely, when we feel that we’re not valued, or that what we do is of little importance, our motivation is low, and so is our satisfaction. Naturally, our performance suffers too.
In conclusion, to build a high-performance team, with highly motivated people, find that shared purpose they truly care about. In addition, let them know how they can create value in what they do.