These leaders were hungry to know about motivation. With limited webinar time, the pressure was to get to the point.

Key drivers

So to capture the essence of motivational thinking, with a dash for alliteration, I presented the key drivers of motivation as:

  • Autonomy:  Our wish to be free and independent. To live our own life. And make our own decisions. To use our own judgement.
  • Affiliation:  Our desire to connect. To have relationships and belong.
  • Achievement:  Our drive to succeed. To overcome challenges and be masterful in what we do whatever that is.
  • A Purpose: Our need to know our effort and energy signifies something. To know that we are contributing to something bigger than ourselves.

But if I really wanted to cut to the chase, I could have simply said…freedom, love, success and making a difference.


Framing it in these simple terms reminds us of our humanness. Our realness.  It jolts us back to the realisation that we are inherently disposed to high levels of motivation because of these fundamental human drivers.  We want to feel some control over our lives. To be loved and do our best. To matter.

Leaders can often forget this.

Each person has their own individual motivations. Our mix of these 4 key drivers depends on personality, culture, environment and context. As leaders, it is important to tune our antennae. To notice what motivates us. And to notice what motivates those we lead.

With the fragility of the human ego it doesn’t take much for us to lose a bit of motivation.  Conversely with the strength of the human spirit, it does not take much for us to regain it.

Our leadership actions

As leaders we can take small actions to help others regain their motivation, such as:

  • Freedom:  Let go of the controls and delegate. Share information freely with others. And accept people for who they are not what you want them to be.
  • Love: To appreciate and recognise people. And to show your gratitude towards them. Making sure you get them together and encourage collaboration.  Encouraging conversations about shared values.
  • Success: Give people the best opportunity to shine by matching their skills with the task. Help them set compelling goals. Cultivate a culture of learning and mastery.
  • Making a difference: Help people understand how they contribute to the vision. Give them ‘whole tasks’ so they can get the big picture. Help them maximise the difference they make.

Here’s to freedom, love, success and making a difference.


Post Share
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments