There are many motivational theories out there, but one of my favourites I've come across in the past has to be Dean Spitzers 8 Desires of Motivation.
In his book 'Supermotivation', Spitzer describes 8 desires which causes inner motivation. These inner motivators are closely linked to Hertzberg's Internal Motivators.
Spitzers 8 Desires are:
Desire for Power - People want to be in control of where they are going. In organisations with top-down structures this can be difficult. People want their power to control where they are going. You can do this by allowing people to set their own objectives, providing they are in line with the organisations vision.
Desire for Activity - People want to be involved and active. In our lives we try to avoid boredom and monotony, yet at work we tend to accept jobs that are like this without complaint. However, internally we know that we don't want to be doing these. As leaders, we could involve people in decisions that affect them and in team decisions to provide that power of choice.
Desire for Recognition - People want to be recognised for a job well done and feel appreciated by others. A simple thanks or some feedback on a job or task carried out can go a very long way. This is a great way of energising people to want to do more.
Desire for Affiliation - People want to feel part of something, whether it be the local team or the wider organisation. Doing things to create a team environment will energise those who are social and will create a stronger team bond. Help people to see where they fit into the organisation.
Desire for Competence - People welcome opportunities to become more competent. Training and developing people to be better at their jobs can provide the energy these people need.
Desire for Ownership - People want to feel as though they own tasks or jobs that they do. Physiological ownership can be even more powerful than physical ownership. Delegate ownership of tasks and don't just use GOFER delegation. Agree objectives and ensure you discuss what THEY are going to do.
Desire for Meaning - People want to understand what they are there to do. If they have to press a button all day at work, ensure they know why and what the consequences of not pressing the button are. People want to know what difference they are making.
Desire for Achievement - People want to achieve what they set out to do, whether its climb a mountain or a work based objective. Help people to understand how realistic their goals are, envisage what problems they may encounter and what they will do to overcome them.
What can you do to understand what individuals motivators are? Simple answer is ask them. Share the above motivators with them and question them on which of these motivators relate to them.
Remember the pneumonic PARACOMA.
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