September 25, 2020 / By Anne M. Brafford & Richard M. Ryan
In this Harvard Business Review article, research shows that we are most energized and committed when we are internally motivated by our own values, sense of enjoyment, and growth — in short, internal motivation, not external structure, inspires us to be our best selves. The authors discuss how business leaders can use this approach to keep teams going in times of prolonged crisis, such as the continual uncertainty brought on by Covid-19. Use self-determination theory, or SDT, they outline three tactics to help leaders ignite employees’ internal motivation.
No matter what the circumstances are, we are most energized and committed when we are internally motivated by our own values, sense of enjoyment, and growth — in short, internal motivation inspires us to be our best selves. By meeting the three psychological needs, leaders help employees be engaged and feel valued at work, (relatedness), feel motivated by growth (competence), and feel empowered and confident in their skills (autonomy). Employees who feel unappreciated or coerced will, at best, often half-heartedly comply with a boss’s orders without whole-heartedly committing to excellence. At worst, they will lose all sense of motivation and fail to meet goals and deadlines.READ MORE