Skip over at Random Thoughts of a CTO picked up on BusinessPundit Rob’s conversation about who is to blame for unmotivated employees. They both say that both the employee and manager have responsibility.
Sure, I can agree with that and I like what they both say in their posts. But I also think there is something else that’s deeper. Many people hold the assumption that motivation is a thing that can be given, gotten, taken, and/or produced.
When it comes to real motivation, intrinsic motivation (the love of doing something for it’s own sake), we are not in control of others but we are totally in control of ourselves.
Rob points out that most employees start a job with lots of desire and motivation. This is partially true, I think. For many people, this changes or fades. The question is, why and who is at fault?
First, I don’t think we hold ourselves accountable to a high enough standard. Many people (I struggle with this too) are better starters than finishers and even with the best boss, they get bored and unengaged. The environment tolerates corporate zombies. Some environments attract zombies.
Second, there is something much more fundamental going on here. Our organizations (schools, businesses, families) are not set up to allow motivation and most squelch it big time. Our intrinsic juices might be so deeply covered and dejected that even the best intentions by people or bosses will fail to make a difference.
I see this even with people who say they want to get engaged and be motivated. It’s like the cricket in a glass jar with a lid – it learns how high it can jump and won’t escape when the lid is removed.
When will our education systems, families, and companies get it? For most, the answer is likely never. I think this is why the boom in entrepreneuralism. Even so, the same inertia plagues well intended innovators.
We have to reject a lot of programming to be our most motivated (our animated and courageous selves). Imagine what the world would feel like with high intrinsic motivation as the norm!
I think the key to motivation is LOVE and FREEDOM – and the willingness to unlearn A LOT.