“What you are suggesting,” Sam said, “is that motivation does not require incentives to get the work done?”
“Indeed, the word motivation conjures up all kinds of incentive schemes,” I replied. “Contrast the word motivation with the word manipulation. Most incentive schemes are manipulative, attempting to induce behavior for the benefit of the manager. What I am saying is that motivation, related to work, can be spontaneous, energetic if the team member finds it of interest. It is not the purpose of a manager to find incentives to manipulate behavior, but to set conditions where people find themselves engaged in work of inherent value, where they can bring their full capacity to the problem solving and decision making embedded in the work.”
“But, I need people to work diligently, and I can’t always be there to make sure the work is done right and on-time,” Sam sounded a bit like complaining.
“People work hard, not because they have to, but because they want to. People want to learn and grow. People want to contribute and be thanked for that contribution. It is up to us, as managers, to create the conditions that release a person’s enthusiasm, creativity and initiative.”