How Can You Create an Environment of Motivation?

When motivation fatigue hits employees, it can seem insurmountable, especially from a management point of view. While a manager’s knee-jerk reaction might be to jump in and take it upon themselves to fix the situation, this can actually be counterproductive. Managers often try to motivate their employees, but in reality, motivation is best achieved when it comes from within.

Although it sounds like quite the dilemma, evoking motivation in people may not be as challenging as you may think. Looking back on Daniel Pink’s TED Talk “The Puzzle of Motivation”, it seems most organisations tend to motivate people through extrinsic means, e.g. financial incentives, pizza parties, or even through fear of consequence, when research shows that people are actually far more likely to become (and stay) motivated on an intrinsic level.

“The good news is that the scientists who’ve been studying motivation have given us this new approach,” Pink explains. “It’s built much more around intrinsic motivation. Around the desire to do things because they matter, because we like it, they’re interesting, or part of something important.”

Like most aspects of management, inspiring motivation will be unique for each employee. A challenging project might bring out the best in one employee, but cause another to shut down completely. Taking time for a one-on-one lunch to get to know someone personally might inspire more effort from one employee, but cause another anxiety or discomfort. For a manager, the question becomes how to go the extra mile to create an atmosphere that keeps each employee engaged and on-track to meet goals, complete tasks, and deliver results.

Everything DiSC Management®, a research-backed assessment that helps managers better understand their management style, can serve as a tool to help managers understand how to create an environment that motivates. With this tool, managers are enabled to adapt their work environment to foster the unique motivational needs of their individual employees.

In the Everything DiSC Management profile, respondents receive insight on the environment they inherently create, according to their own DiSC style, as well as how to create motivating environments around each specific style’s needs. You can get an idea of what that looks like in these examples:

  • When managing someone with a D style, keep in mind that they strongly value independence, and will react well to an environment that gives them autonomy and creative license to experiment with methods.
  • A great way to motivate i Style employees is to create an environment that encourages collaboration and big-picture thinking, as these people tend to be imaginative dreamers with a natural inclination for being social.
  • S style employees are cautious by nature, and likely to be motivated by an environment that gives them plenty of time to complete tasks, along with the resources and sense of security they need to do their best work.
  • When managing a C style, remember their priority for objectivity, and explain the purpose of tasks and assignments logically, as well as listening to their insights about projects before asserting your own opinion on the matter.

 Pink closes his talk by drawing attention to the discrepancies in motivation between what science tells us to do versus what business generally does. “If we bring our notions of motivation into the 21st century, if we get past this lazy, dangerous ideology of carrots and sticks, we can strengthen our businesses, we can solve a lot of those problems, and maybe—maybe—we can change the world.”

As managers continue in their effort to step up and evolve their management style to meet the individual needs of their employees, we think taking on the challenge of creating a motivating environment is a great place to start.