“Motivation is the processes that account for an individual’s intensity, direction, and persistence of effort toward attaining a goal” (Robbins and Judge, 2013, p 202). An effective leader motivates his or her followers or subordinates to perform. Leaders encourage other to be moved by something. The degree of motivation and the type of motivation are both important. The degree of motivation is how much is someone motivated and the type of motivation concerns with what brings that motivation. Both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation are mentioned as catalysts of the explained behavior. Several theories of motivation try to explain the concept and its origins. The purpose of this paper is to explain key ideas of some of the theories as they relate to a team of six members and a mentor who is in a leadership position. The DISC assessment tool will be used to compare and contrast the individuals of the team based on their personalities. Both extrinsic and intrinsic motivators exist.
Extrinsic motivation means doing something that leads to a separable outcome and intrinsic motivation means doing something because it is inherently interesting or enjoyable (Ryan and Deci, 2000). In consequence, the behaviors portrayed are different. Intrinsic motivation comes natural and is even associated with behaviors since one is a child. A child is born with the inherent nature to walk, eat, be curious, etc. This aspect might be related to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs explained later. We also have innate needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness (Ryan and Deci, 2000). This relates to self-efficacy theory. Extrinsic motivation, on the other hand, depends on a separable outcome or an external force or pressure. These behaviors appear after childhood when we start identifying with roles. In the workplace, extrinsic motivators are often in the form of rewards like pay incentives, employee benefits, verbal recognition, etc. Intrinsic motivators are shown when doing a job because it means something to us; learning from the job, pay incentives when we are passionate about a job, employee recognition programs, etc.
Extrinsic motivators often enhance performance when they are not seen as coercive. They can also increase satisfaction (how well we feel about our jobs). An extrinsic motivator that might increase job satisfaction might be a high perceive organizational support (POS) or the degree that we perceive the organization supports our goals. Both extrinsic and intrinsic motivators are explained as part of the self-determination theory of motivation. This is one of the contemporary theories “that is concerned with the beneficial effects of intrinsic motivation and the harmful effects of extrinsic motivation” (Robbins and Judge, 2013, p 209). The harmful effects of extrinsic rewards can diminish intrinsic interest on a task, best known as cognitive evaluation theory. Other contemporary theories of relevance to this paper are: goal-setting theory, and self-efficacy theory. Goal-setting theory proposes that clear and specific goals improve performance. Self-efficacy theory relies on the premise that we are all capable of performing what we want.
Its proponent proposes enactive mastery, vicarious modeling, verbal persuasion, and arousal can improve that self-efficacy. Many other contemporary theories try to explain motivation, but the scope of this paper goes beyond that. However care must be given to mention Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, one of the first attempts to explain motivation. There exists a hierarchy of needs within us: physiological, safety, social, esteem, and self-actualization. This theory seems logical but its criticism is that no empirical substantiation can help prove it. Some of the other need theories like McClellands’ (need for achievement, power, and affiliation) and contemporary theories have some sort of empirical element to them. Now that some motivation elements have been explained, let’s put them to practice. I am part of a team of six with different personalities and leadership styles.
The DISC assessment, which is divided in four main behavioral styles (Dominance, Interactive, Steadiness, and Cautious), was used to compare and contrast the six members. The model, based on the work of William Moulton Marston, PhD, examines behavioral traits, and shows how to understand those behaviors on a group setting (Duck, 2006). Five members are dominant, and one is interactive. I am a dominant. From the dominants, four are producers and one is an adventurer (substyles). I am a dominant producer. Dominants like control and achievement. They are goal-oriented and take charge. They want things to be done in a quick and in an efficient manner. They don’t like delays, and like to challenge ideas.
The dominant is focused on tasks. They do not delegate enough. Dominant producers do not acknowledge differences among team members. The ability to produce makes them highly valued in situations in which an efficient, dependable, or incrementally improving rate of production is desired (Garcia, 2013). The Adventurer wants dominance and independence. The adventurer is results-oriented, and prefers quantity to quality. The adventurer likes to challenge others. The adventurer likes to perform tasks quick, and is confident about his work. Under pressure, he becomes less team-oriented. The Adventurer can benefit by learning to pay attention to information and the team members around them. The Interactive style’s strengths are enthusiasm, charm, persuasiveness, and warmth (UOP Blanchard). Good communication, optimism, and charisma, are some of their traits. They are relationship-oriented. They influence people and can build teamwork to accomplish their goals. But by wanting to be liked, they might loose track of their goals in a team, and might be distracted from what needs to be done (Garcia, 2013).
How to translate in terms of motivation? Extrinsic motivators such as pay incentives, verbal praise, and feedback may motivate people who are dominant, like me. They are goal achievers so they want rewards for accomplishing those goals. Their innate desire is to perform and excel. They do not see rewards as coercive. When they see rewards as coercive, extrinsic motivators do more harm than good. This is one of the principles of self-determination theory (Robbins and Judge, 2013). But for dominants this is hardly the case. Dominant adventurers, however, are the more team-oriented of the dominant types. They might respond more to intrinsic motivators of self-fulfillment. But according to the assessment, if they feel pressured, they will forget about the team. The interactive type reflects optimism, and charisma. They like to be appreciated by the team and others. They will respond more to verbal recognition than pay incentives. Seen rewards as coercive is less likely to them. A team composed of several personalities will have different stimuli, which motivates them.
My mentor works as a leader for a financial and insurance provider. He has a high- powered position in which he manages multiple employees. They are motivated several ways. In the type of work he does he is more motivated through extrinsic motivators. They like verbal recognition not just from him and from his boss, but from the customer who is satisfied with the services they provide. They respond to verbal praises such as “thumbs up”. They receive pay incentives like yearly bonuses based on performance. For them this creates a motivator. High-powered positions in his organization might respond better to extrinsic motivators, but those employees that deal directly with customers might be intrinsically motivated to provide good service. As a leader, my mentor enjoys building relationships with his employees and gets to know them personally. This might make him more intrinsically motivated because he enjoys his team. Overall, he believes that the biggest factors of motivation are recognition, pay incentives, and developing comradery among the team. They increase job performance and satisfaction.
As the leader of my team at school, the only extrinsic motivator is verbal recognition. I find ways to praise them constantly after performing well. Building a personal connection is also important. If they perceive I support and care about them, they will perform better and be more satisfied. I find intrinsic motivators more important, at least in school. I try to perform well because I see that is my future. The theories of motivation I find most relevant are the ones that stress intrinsic motivators. I believe in a job market in which autonomy, mastery and purpose are the driving forces for rewards. Intrinsic motivators can increase job satisfaction, job engagement, job commitment, and citizenship behavior. They are all related to job satisfaction. Our global economy is moving from one that values extrinsic rewards to one who values intrinsic rewards, and the literature proves it.
Alessandra, Tony. The DISC Platinum Rule Behavioral Style Assessment.
University of Phoenix – http://UOP.BlanchardAssessments.com
Duck, Janet. (2006). Making the Connection: Improving Virtual Team Performance Through Behavioral Assessment Profiling And Behavioral Cues. Developments in Business Simulation and Experiential Learning. Vol. 33.
Garcia, Nelson. (December 2, 2013). Professional Development Plan. Unpublished. Ryan, Richard M., Deci, Edward L. (2000). Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations: Classic Definitions And New Directions. Contemporary Educational Psychology. University of Rochester. Vol. 25. P 54-67. doi:10.1006/ceps.1999.1020. Robbins, Stephen P; Judge, Timothy A. Organizational Behavior. 15th. Pearson Education.