Close your eyes. Imagine you’re a manager and you have 10 employees that you’re responsible for. Notice I didn’t say “10 employees who work for you”. That was on purpose. As a manager your REAL job regardless of what you think or what your manager thinks, isn’t to get the most out of people listed “under you” on the org chart. Your REAL job is to help those on your team get what THEY need WHILE achieving company objectives.

Read that about 10 times before continuing. If you’re in the camp of having people work FOR you – you probably shouldn’t be a manager. And you probably won’t get anything out of this post.

Today is about getting your team fired up and wanting to do their best. Today is about how you can help your team tap into their intrinsic motivational drives.

Help! You need somebody!

Intrinsic drives, as the name suggests, are things that drive behavior that are unique to you and are inside your skull. It’s about what you find enjoyable and fulfilling. The best definition I’ve heard lately is this:

“Intrinsic motivations are the things you do when you’re procrastinating doing the things you don’t like to do.”

Extrinsic motivations are things outside you – money, status, trips and awards – the things you get or earn when you do those things you hate to do. Extrinsic motivations are the carrots that influence your behavior. And they have a place in the workforce. There are plenty of things that need to get done in business that don’t connect to your “internal drives” and as business managers we need to help give our teams reasons to do those things. That’s a good use of external incentives. Unfortunately, many managers overuse external rewards and have created a negative opinion of them. The fact is – well-designed extrinsic reward program works extremely well. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. But intrinsic motivation is always the best place to start your motivation planning.

The more we can target internal/intrinsic drives the more we can help our companies achieve their goals AND make our teammates feel better and more fulfilled.

Introduce People to Their Results

Many managers will talk about results and will track them and report on them. As an employee you want to hit your numbers (external) and be rewarded. But even that can ring hollow.

But what if you could be introduced to your goals? What if you could actually meet your work output?

Believe it or not you can.

A study done a few years back showed that when you can see the impact your work efforts have on real people, the more likely you are to be engaged with that work and more motivated to do your job.

Adam Grant – a Wharton professor – ran a study at a University of Michigan fundraising call center in which students who had benefited from the center’s scholarship fundraising efforts spoke to the people calling for donations for 10 minutes. The results of that simple step were astounding:

“The results were surprising even to Grant. A month after the testimonial, the workers were spending 142% more time on the phone and bringing in 171% more revenue, even though they were using the same script. In a subsequent study, the revenues soared by more than 400%. Even simply showing the callers letters from grateful recipients was found to increase their fund-raising draws.”

This idea of giving to turn on internal connections and motivations has been repeated with Doctors and nurses who faced signs about hand washing – one saying “they” were less likely to get sick if they washed their hands, the other suggesting patients were less likely to get sick – the later generating almost 50% increase in use of soap.

Connect to Human Results

As a manager you can increase the amount of intrinsic motivation and drive up performance if you take some time to connect the work your team does to a human output – a human result. If you manage folks who shoot screws in a factory it might be tougher than working at a hospital or a financial planning office but make the effort. Your job is to find that connection and show your team how what they do matters to real people and not just bottom line results and management reports in PowerPoint with multi-colored pie charts.

The work we ALL do ultimately impacts people. That is where the magic happens!