4 Ways People Are Motivated – Only One Trumps All

4 Ways People Are Motivated 1 Trumps All - inWealthandHealth

Photo by PhotoSteve101 via Flickr

Are you a manager, business owner, or start-up entrepreneur? Are you looking to motivate your employees to be the best they can be? As a leader you have a plethora of responsibilities. Making sure your employees are motivated on a day to day basis is one of them. Motivated employees mean they will be successful, which means you will shine as a manager, or business owner, and your business will thrive. There are 4 basic ways people are motivated, but only one of them is lasting. This article will review the ways to motivate people, and the one way you all your employees should be motivated.

First off let’s look at the meaning of Motivation. The dictionary says motivation is, “The reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way”. So can you really persuade your employees to act or behave a particular way? The answer is “sort of”. There are a few ways to motivate that you have control over. There are a few that you will have no control over, and one you can only hope all your employees are motivated by. So what are they?


4 Ways People Are Motivated – Only One Trumps All

Fear Motivation:

Perhaps the worst style of motivation a manager can have. This is when you place a fear within your employees to motivate them. This can include writing them up, putting them through a poor performance review, pay decrease, demotion, or the threat of them losing their job. In the world of motivation, we as leaders never want to rely on fear motivation. It’s a last resort and should only be used when absolutely necessary. If you over use fear motivation and never take action on what you originally told your employee, they will no longer fear your threats. Fear motivation will not work most of the time, instead it will create resentment and often have the reverse effect that was originally intended. If fear motivation does work, it will be very short-lived. Most would suggest this type of motivation never be used, however sometimes you are left with no other option.


Incentive Motivation:

Incentive motivation is for short term thinkers who need immediate rewards for their accomplishments. Incentive motivation works, but only if the reward is large enough, and your employees are hungry enough. This can include bonuses, trips and other giveaways. Incentive motivation is common in many businesses, however if your pockets aren’t deep enough, you will soon run out of ways to continually motivate your staff. Take for an example: a company offers a summer promotion for an all-inclusive summer trip to Hawaii to the top salesmen. This will definitely motivate most of your staff to sell more; your company will get off to a great start to the year. So why is this type of motivation not the best? Let’s say two of your sales staff own their own timeshare in Hawaii, they won’t be as motivated as the others. Also what happens after the trip is given away? It is likely those motivated only by the incentive will have a quick decline in sales. Remember incentive motivation only works if the reward is large enough and your employees are hungry enough. Although incentive motivation works, like fear motivation it is short-lived.


Growth/Achievement Motivation:

Almost everyone has the desire to grow and achieve. This is one of the types of motivation that you as an employer have less control over. There are some that do not care about a fancy title or another plaque on their wall, while others thrive for these things. Growth and achievement motivation will motivate those that see the big picture. They are not short-term thinkers who are only motivated by an immediate reward, like those who thrive on incentive motivation. Those who are motivated by growth see the big picture. They understand that with continual success, they will eventually be rewarded monetarily for their efforts. If you have members of your team that are motivated in this way, keep them. They are very likely to continually work hard year after year, with the bigger picture in mind.



Self-motivation is the most powerful of all, however it is the type of motivation that leaders have the least influence over. Self motivated individuals do not need incentives, fear or an achievement to get motivated. They are simply motivated because they know they are winners. This does not mean the cocky salesmen that talks a big talk, who has no actions to back it up. Often the self-motivated will be quiet, and go about their routines, winning daily unbeknownst to you or other team members. They don’t need the reassurance that they are winners. So what are the signs of a self-motivated individual? You will want to know when you have one, so you can keep them around, and make sure you are taking care of them. Self-motivated individuals will set personal goals, often beyond the goals their superior or company has set for them.  They will not expect anything for their accomplishments, or need a pat on their back after each achievement. Don’t get me wrong, the self-motivated will appreciate you noticing their achievements, however they will not feel entitled to the acknowledgement. The self-motivated will have an uncanny desire to succeed. They will have success routines and stick to them.

“There’s always the motivation of wanting to win. Everybody has that. But a champion needs, in his attitude, a motivation above and beyond winning.” Pat Riley

In a perfect world, every one of your employees would be self-motivated. However the world is not perfect. My suggestion is to follow your gut. Some will need incentives, some will need the promise of growth or an achievement. The best are those that are self motivated, and leaders should remember to only use fear motivation when absolutely necessary.

Get Motivated Daily

Hang motivating quotes on the wall. Have a reference of quotes to use during conversation. Make your workplace a positive environment. How about sending them a daily or weekly email that boosts their confidence and morale? You can visit here to get examples of some great motivational quotes to pass along to your team. 

What motivation style will you use? How many self-motivated individuals are on your team?

If you are looking to get more of your team onto the side of self-motivation, pass along the following articles, sometimes all they need is a little push to get them over the hump.

Goals – One Step to Rise Above the Competition

Take a Quantum Leap – Attain the Unattainable

Follow Us


Share This Article

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share with your friends

Share with your friends