In­trin­sic mo­ti­va­tion: the miss­ing piece in chang­ing em­ployee be­hav­ior

The Smart Manager - - Employee Behavior -

“In­trin­sic mo­ti­va­tion is about help­ing em­ploy­ees be­come more pro­duc­tive, en­gaged, and hap­pier in their work.” Shlomo Ben-Hur and Nik Kin­ley talk about fos­ter­ing a cul­ture of in­trin­sic mo­ti­va­tion and how it can bet­ter or­ga­ni­za­tional per­for­mance.

“I put a dol­lar in one of those change ma­chines. Noth­ing changed.” Ge­orge Car­lin (Amer­i­can co­me­dian)

Though it is hardly ever listed in job de­scrip­tions, chang­ing em­ploy­ees’ be­hav­ior is an im­por­tant part of any man­ager’s work. Whether it is help­ing peo­ple to de­velop and im­prove at what they do or get­ting them to do new things in new ways, en­abling be­hav­ior change just comes with the ter­ri­tory. And for many man­agers, it is the tough­est chal­lenge they face.

It is not that they do not know what needs to change. In a study we con­ducted with over 500 man­agers from around

the world, we asked lead­ers how con­fi­dent they were about their abil­ity to help oth­ers iden­tify and un­der­stand which be­hav­iors they needed to al­ter to im­prove per­for­mance. Nearly three-quar­ters said they found this easy. When we asked how con­fi­dent they were about giv­ing feed­back, roughly the same per­cent­age said they knew how to do that too. Yet only around a third felt sure about which tech­niques to use to help peo­ple evolve and fewer than 10% ex­pressed con­fi­dence about mak­ing the ad­just­ment stick over time. It is not what be­hav­ior to change but how to do so that they found per­plex­ing. It is lit­tle won­der, then, that less than half of the man­agers we sur­veyed be­lieved that at­tempts to mod­ify be­hav­ior ac­tu­ally work.

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