Who needs Motivation? - a blast from the past

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I stumbled on a copy of an email I shared with my team about 7 years ago and I thought to re-live the details here. You will find it useful for sure!

Dear Friends,

I would like to share these thoughts on “Team Motivation & Engagement

People can work hard when they have to, but they work harder when they really want to.

It has been said that there are no unmotivated people – only unmotivated workers. The fact is, most people aren’t born lazy or unmotivated. The challenge is to channel people’s existing energies into good work performance that results from motivation.

Your motivation at work is your desire to do your job well and your willingness to invest your brain power, energy and time into doing it well; in other words you don’t just want to do your job well but you can be bothered to put in the effort to do it  well.

To be motivated, you first need five basic requirements to be met:

  • Your job must be made up (mostly) of tasks that you enjoy, that make good use of your skills and aptitudes and suit your working style.
  • Your job must be well designed – designing an interesting and worthwhile job and putting the right person in it sets the scene for a motivated job holder. Job design refers to a job’s specific duties, responsibilities and tasks.
  • You must believe that your job is worth doing and worth doing well.
  • You must clearly understand your job’s purpose and goals and feel confident you have the knowledge, skills and resource to meet them.
  • You must receive the appropriate (by your own standards) level and types of rewards for doing your job well.

Please do a self-assessment of your levels of motivation. Are these requirements met?


The Carrot and stick Motivation

A lot of us are pretty familiar with this form of motivation.

“I don’t know any other way to manage people than through fear” – Kerry Parker (1937 – 2005) Media Tycoon

Too much ‘stick’, not enough ‘carrot’. Parker saw this as a flaw in his character and was ashamed of it.

People are sometimes motivated by fear – the fear of losing something or the fear of the negative consequences. For example, people may fear losing their job when they don’t perform well, or might want to avoid harsh words, disrespectful words and denigrating statements from their team lead.

Fear can indeed be a motivator. Think of fear as the stick: an outside push that people want to move away from. Usually after people have lived with a fear for a while, they come to accept it and it loses its power.

This makes fear a weak motivator and therefore less effective in the long run than  the carrot: an inner, magnetic pull towards something. Wanting to do a job well because of the reward it brings – a sense of achievement, pride, rising up to a challenge and so on – is a stronger form of motivation.

Motivation – is not about lighting a fire under someone; it’s about lighting a fire within.

Engaging Employees

The question many employees want to say ‘Yes’ to is: ‘Am I proud of where I work?’ When you’re engaged, you feel committed to your work place. Being engaged adds to your motivation  to do your job well, especially when you can see how it contributes to the organization as a whole, and full engagement bonds you to the whole organization.

Engagement comes from:

  • How closely you identify with your organization’s activities and the people you work with.
  • How closely your own values and desires match the values and vision of your organization and the team purpose of your work team.
  • Your sense of belonging to your organization and work team.

Corporate social responsibility, employer brand and employer value proposition (EVP) are increasingly seen as important to engagement. But good as they are, a poor relationship with your direct boss drastically devalues them.

Satisfied employees can be quite content doing their jobs but when something better comes along, it’s easy for them to leave for the greener pastures. Engaged employees say “us” and “we”, not “they” and “them” when speaking about their team and organization. They enjoy their jobs and the organization they work for so much that they are advocates and recruiters: “Come work with us –it’s terrific here! Buy our products and use our service – they are great!!!

Does this speak about you?

 Finally, which level of engagement do you figure you belong to-


Highly Engaged

You are working with passion and pride, and feel you have a stake in your organization’s success and are willing to work hard to help it succeed.


You are motivated to do your job well, but its more about the money and your sense of personal and team pride than about building a great organization

Not Engaged

You are willing to stay in the organization but just as a “nine-to-fiver’ essentially “checked out” and merely going through the motions, putting time into your work but not extra effort, energy or passion.

Actively disengaged

You are so unhappy in your work that you undermine what your engaged colleagues accomplish.

 I am “highly engaged”- I already know this! Figure yourselves out.


Most of these was culled from the  book titled “Team leader’s Toolkit”


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3 thoughts on “Who needs Motivation?”

  1. You are motivated to work more if the pay is good and incentives are there. I heard about a man who worked in a bank and closed almost very late daily. Why? Twice a year the bank sponsored him and his family to travel abroad for holidays.. Motivation can also come when your future is guaranteed by being offered shares to become part owners of the organisation. You will do everything to ensure the organisation success..

  2. Some employers would love employees get motivated to work but can’t create a good work environment owing to past mismanagement

  3. Motivation comes from within really. Its in the soul. We all have it as ypu said. We just need to wake it up and be sure it buning in the right fire. Good good

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