Intrinsic motivation is a key element of building emotionally intelligent teams
Mihály Csíkszentmihályi describes flow as completely focused motivation. Essentially, flow is when we are complete absorbed in what we are doing. Flow represents the single minded experience where we are able to harness our emotions in the service of performing and learning. While in a state of Flow our emotions are not just contained and channeled, but positive, energised, and aligned with the task at hand.
Depression and anxiety block us from the state of flow. Flow is a joyous deep focus on nothing but the activity, not even ourselves or our emotions. The concept of flow underlies many of Dan Pink’s arguments for inherent motivation 3.0 leading to a new sense of intrinsic motivation in employees. Pink maintains we want to be engaged in our work, not merely obey orders.
Intrinsic motivation feels different and looks different
Abraham Maslow proposed the hierarchy of needs motivational theory in 1943 with the five levels of human needs. His hierarchy of needs suggests that motivation flows from the more demanding lower survival levels to the higher aspirational levels. Dan Pink focuses on self-actualisation as the key to employee motivation. He suggests self-actualisation be divided into driving elements of autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
So what does intrinsic motivation 3.0 require?
We crave autonomy – the freedom to do what we need to do in our own way, and at our own pace alongside people we want to work with. We like to have control over our work and our environment. We often resent interference from others. Being in control is a powerful motivator. As human beings we seek opportunities for mastery, to develop skill and to feel a sense of accomplishment and growth. Though we may never fully achieve it, mastery is something we constantly strive for. We work hard to achieve mastery only when we have a compelling purpose and believe we can achieve it. We seek purpose in what we do. We want to know that what we do matters, to feel we fit in, are part of the bigger picture. Purpose is the drive that makes us love to get up in the morning and meet the challenges of the day. Purpose converts our job into a vocation. This is often our ultimate goal, seeking that sense of purpose, of achievement and mattering.
Many businesses used to consider extrinsic motivation important, but the world has changed. As we move from a process environment to a creative and knowledge environment extrinsic motivation has less impact. Research now shows that extrinsic motivation can be effective in repetitive work, but intrinsically motivated people are more effective at knowledge and creative work.
Creating an environment where we can connect with our purpose, have opportunities to be autonomous and can travel the path to mastery helps create an engaged and responsible workforce.
The flow of intrinsic motivation 3.0
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