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motivational leader

Brain Circuits

Changing employee behavior: Tapping into internal motivators 

IbyIMD+ Published 3 April 2024 in Brain Circuits • 3 min read

Do you know how to tap into your employees’ need for autonomy, mastery, and connection — three fundamental motivators?

At work, bonuses and other merit-based rewards are motivating, especially for tasks that require mechanical skills. But, ultimately, internal motivations matter more than carrots (or sticks), especially for work requiring cognitive skills.

Three fundamental needs that act as internal motivators are: autonomy, mastery, and connection.

The sense of being in control and having a choice. To increase a sense of autonomy, managers should involve people, get the tone right, and offer choices.
The sense of being competent and relishing challenges. Reminding an employee of their strengths, positioning things as a challenge (rather than change), and appealing to a sense of pride are effective at creating a sense of mastery.
The sense of being meaningfully connected to what you are doing, your team, your boss, and the purpose of your organization. Managers can boost connection by involving people – asking why it matters and what the benefits of change will be, explaining the reasons for change, and making it personal and practical.
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