Make Sure Actions Lead to Desired Motives

In his book, Why We Do What We Do, Edward Deci wrote, “Motivation requires that people see a relationship between their behavior and desired outcome…If people do not believe that their behavior will lead to something they desire, they will not be motivated.”

I define motivation as having a motive for taking action. Motives might include the desire to deliver great performances, to earn significant incomes, and to be given unique recognition.

So how do business leaders demotivate people? When they micromanage, they don’t allow the employee to think and the performance becomes the boss’s and not the employee’s. When they demean or bully an employee, they rob the employee of the opportunity to feel good about his or her efforts. When they give out bonuses and pay raises to everyone, or deny everyone, across the board, they break the linkage between performance and reward.

It’s not enough for you to achieve great results as a business leader. You need to create an environment where motivated people can stay motivated. One of your main jobs is not to demotivate people.

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