Volume 15, June 2002: Motivation

Keyzine: An E-zine for Leaders about the People Side of Business

Publisher: © Key Associates, LLC, 2002 ISSN # 1545-8873

“Where there is no joy, there is no profit taken.” — William Shakespeare

“People become motivated when you guide them to the source of their power.” — Anita Roddick, CEO, The Body Shop

“What management needs to do to motivate people is to stop demotivating them.” — W. Edwards Deming

“Change … comes from the inside out. It doesn’t come from hacking at the leaves of attitude and behavior with quick fix personality ethic techniques. It comes from striking at the root – the fabric of our thought, the fundamental essential paradigms, which give definition to our character.” — Steven R. Covey


  • What’s Hot in Leadership
  • Maintaining Yourself as a Leader
  • Frequently Asked Questions from Leaders
  • Educational Opportunities
  • Useful Websites & Newsletters
  • Articles/Publications

What’s Hot in Leadership

  • Looking to fix broken systems rather than blaming people.
  • Viewing employees as authors of their own work.
  • Enhancing power by giving it away.

Maintaining Yourself as a Leader

Check the key motivators for you. Are they:

  • Material rewards
  • Power/Influence
  • Search for Meaning
  • Accomplishment/Delight in Learning
  • Creativity
  • Affiliation
  • Autonomy
  • Security/Fear
  • Status/Recognition
  • Other?

Allocate 25 points across these categories. Then determine whether they are extrinsic(from without) or intrinsic motivators. How can you release yourself from doing because you have to, and start doing for the sheer pleasure of it? Therein is the true and lasting motivation.

Frequently Asked Questions

“What’s the key to motivating people?”
By and large, people are naturally motivated, but it may not be to your aims. Take a look at what may be ‘demotivating’ them and remove those demotivators. Then entreat them to align with you in a common purpose. The key motivators are intrinsic: e.g., the chance to do something important, something of quality, that you do well, or that you can learn from, with a team you like, and with degrees of creative freedom.
“What do you mean by ‘demotivators?’”
  • Politics
  • Unclear expectations
  • Poorly designed work
  • Unfairness/Preferential treatment
  • Unnecessary rules
  • Constantly changing the program
  • Hypocrisy (not walking the talk) and dishonesty
  • Over-control
  • Being forced to do poor quality work
  • Fractured communication, particularly gossip
  • Fractured systems, e.g., delays, repeats, multiple inspections, broken equipment
  • Internal competition and WE-THEYism
  • and more …
“I have heard it said that ‘pay is not a motivator.’ How can that be?”
Dr. Deming and Dr. Alfie Kohn were both advocates of this position. After considerable study, I believe they meant that we should pay people as well as we can (generously and equitably), to remove that as a survival consideration. Then give them meaningful work to do. Repeatedly, in surveys, pay is way down the list in ranked motivators.
“Don’t rewards motivate people?”
Yes and they’re most effective for temporary behavioral compliance. But the carrot can be perceived as a stick; people will play it safe, hide mistakes and flaws; and learn to win at the game. Depending on a system of rewards promotes status-quoism. The test is: if you removed the reward, would they continue to do it? Or think – if you gave all your employees a $10,000 raise tomorrow, would productivity improve significantly?


Employee Motivation: Theory and Practice: For a quick overview of theories and theorists re: employee motivation. Includes Elton Mayo’s Hawthorne experiments, Chris Argyris, McGregor's Theory X and Y, Hertzberg, and the self-fulfilling prophecy/Pygmalion effect.

A Theory of Human Motivation: An article originally published by Abraham Maslow in 1943.

Human Resources Issues features 100 downloadable papers on HR issues such as human motivation.

Motivation: Take a course designed by Cal State students on Motivation.

Useful Websites & Newsletters

Human Resources Management – Motivation: A wonderful overview of motivation for managers.

Motivation Tool Chest: Called a tool chest. Some interesting thoughts about motivation and leadership.


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