The Nine Work Motivators – what makes your team tick?
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Leaders may know instinctively that to be engaged you need to be motivated, which drives performance.
And they’d be correct. Hay group research proved that highly engaged employees are 50% more likely to
exceed their performance targets.
Motivation is energy, derived from the Anglo- Norman term, ‘motif’, which means ‘drive.’ Our motivations
are our inner drivers, the fire in our belly, which determines how we feel and subsequently how we act.
Motivation is often the secret ingredient that differentiates an ‘average’ performer, from an exceptional one;
a ‘good’ team from an ‘awesome’ team; and a mediocre culture from a full potential culture.
How Motivated is Your Team?
Work is so much easier and invariably more fun, when people know what lights their fire and they’re being
supported by their manager to focus on what really motivates them.
Take the work ‘Drive’ by Daniel Pink, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, or Hertzberg’s Motivator Hygiene
Theory – they show that your success and happiness, in or outside of work, is determined by whether your
individual motivators are being met (which isn’t necessarily about remuneration or reward).
The 3 Roots of Motivation
Full Potential Group’s research shows there are three primary roots of motivation within the human psyche:
- Our personality (which tends to be fairly fixed, difficult to change and more past orientated).
- Our self-concept (how we see and feel about ourselves, our beliefs about ourselves and our internal world, tends to be less innate, more variable and present orientated)*.
- Our expectations (our beliefs about future outcomes. These again are more variable and future orientated).
In essence, it is the unique blend of our personality with our self-concept, beliefs and expectations which
creates our motivation and determines the outcomes of our life and work.
Why Understanding Motivation is Critical for Leaders
As motivation is virtually synonymous with energy, it is critically important for leaders to understand what
energises them and their people and to also train managers about this new learning. Motivation is often the
missing essential component of performance and engagement, going beyond behaviours (which are merely
outer reflections) of deeper, invisible forces which drive people’s ultimate actions.
We now have the opportunity to create a revolutionary new motivational model: instead of managers
struggling to change behaviours, they can focus instead, on understanding the motivational drivers at the
root cause and work with people to address these – and performance improvement can be dramatic.
3 Motivational Clusters
Blending Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs with Edgar Shein’s Career Anchors and the Enneagram, James
Sale, creator of ‘Motivational Maps’ has identified nine work motivators using an individual profiling tool
which measures motivation properly for the first time.
The motivators are grouped into three clusters:
The Nine Motivators
Everyone has their own unique blend of the nine motivators and the strength of these defines how
motivated we are. Each type has its own distinctive needs, wants and desires.
Know your type and your top three drivers and those of your people and then adapt your leadership style
accordingly. Plus, be aware of people’s de-motivators to avoid wasting energy.
Seeks security, predictability and stability. They like stable, well established organisations, giving clear roles
with a set routine and career paths. Boosting their motivation involves regular communication. Leaders
should communicate, communicate, communicate, especially good news about the organisation and how
it’s doing. Being given accurate information frequently, is highly motivating for them. Regular briefings, even
emails to keep them continually in the loop. They want continuity from a manger. Tell them what you expect
from them, put it in writing. Link goal achievement to security and support them through periods of change.
Reward and value their loyalty and faithful service.
Seeks belonging, friendships and fulfilling relationships. They like organisations and roles with a strong
team ethos, excellent social activities and opportunities for helping and caring for others. They are
motivated when they feel supported, consulted and involved. Create a good social working environment –
they like social events, a personalised approach and a people centred culture. They really value it if you
publicly stick up for them. Regularly ask them “what do you think about x?” and take them into your
Seeks recognition, respect and social esteem. They like visible perks that link to their position, clear
hierarchical structures, job titles and the opportunity to “shine.” You can motivate them with awards and
status. Feed their need to be recognised by involving them in projects, providing clear career progression
and regularly reviewing their targets and goals. They particularly value positive feedback and they love good
publicity, so when they achieve ambitious targets, reward them in a highly visible way.
Seeks power, influence and control over people and resources. They like management or leadership roles
with clear and visible responsibility for people and resources, promotion and career prospects. You can
motivate them by giving them responsibility and influence. Delegate key tasks, give them a mentor and find
opportunities for them to deputise – they like being stretched! Giving them a job title that reflects power is
highly motivating. Training or coaching to help them achieve gives them a motivational boost too.
Seeks money, material satisfactions and above average living. They like performance and reward to be
strongly linked, are drawn to professions with above average pay and visible routes to promotion. This is the
one motivational type who is strongly motivated by money and material perks. They are energised when
they have a clear career path and plan, regular progress reviews and increasing responsibility. You need to
set them clear goals and link them to rewards, especially financial ones! Engage their competitive spirit with
games, sporting activities and competitions, these all boost their motivation.
Seeks knowledge, mastery and specialisation. They like roles requiring specialist knowledge and skill and
are motivated by environments where personal development leads to formal recognition of expertise. Their
motivational hot button is training and development, especially when training, coaching or mentoring
is linked to promotion! They are motivated by ambitious targets and being a guide or mentor to others as
they like opportunities to share their expertise and specialise in areas of interest. Encourage them to
connect with other experts and further boost their expertise.
Seeks innovation, creativity and change. They like problem solving, development work in cutting edge,
innovative organisations or high change, challenging environments. You can motivate them by involving
them in ideas generation, giving them problems to solve and projects that need originality. Recognise their
creativity by rewarding them for innovation. Avoid putting them in a routine role for too long as they get
bored easily and become quickly de-motivated. The more stimulating environment you can provide, the
better; shaking up the office, creating a space for brainstorming gives them a boost.
Seeks freedom, independence and autonomy. They like roles offering freedom where they are in control of
their own time and have the ability to make their own decisions and apply their own discretion. You can
motivate them by sharing the company vision and goals, delegating responsibility and allowing them to work
autonomously. Support them to understand their values and clarify their own vision for their life and work.
Restrictions, rules and procedures can de-motivate them as they hate bureaucracy. Make sure you are
clear and specific about their objectives, avoid micro-management, but create clear boundaries to give them
the freedom they need.
Seeks meaning, purpose and wants to make a difference. They like purposeful organisations and are
motivated by learning, caring orientated roles and projects, often with consumer facing opportunities.
Their motivational hot buttons are praise and regular feedback, so make sure you give it! They are
energised by linking their goals to the wider team or organisational goals and receiving feedback on how
they are making a difference. Give them significant, important work, change and variety and help them to
see the bigger picture.
There are individual, team and organisational profiling tools such as Motivational Maps that define types and
measure motivation or alternatively you may spot certain traits in your team or business. Using such insight,
management can really understand what makes their employees tick and how they need to behave to
improve energy levels.
By Carole Gaskell, Managing Director of Full Potential Group
* Carl Rogers suggested that self-concept has three different yet distinct components (a) self-image – the
view you have of yourself (b) self-esteem – how much value you place on yourself or how much you like
yourself, (c) ideal self – who you want to be or what you wish you were really like.