Intrinsic Motivation And Extrinsic Motivation - How Do You Put Them To Work For You?

intrinsic motivation

Intrinsic motivation simply means motivation that comes from within you. That is, the personal drive to accomplish something because you love it.

For example, some people love table tennis. And they will do anything and sacrifice anything to play their favourite game.

When I was a kid, I loved to play football. I wasn't playing to become a professional footballer sometime in the future. And I wasn't playing to win an award. I just played the game for the fun of it. And I guess many of you had the same experience . . . with football or any other sport.

Sometimes I left my home chores to play football. And I got several strokes of the cane when I returned home. But the very next day, I was back in the pitch again to play.

That is intrinsic motivation at work.

Extrinsic motivation is the reverse. It is drive to do something because of what you expect to gain or receive for doing it.

For example, many kids go to school because of the promise of a well paying job when they graduate. This belief have been taught to them right from childhood and they've bought into it. So, they do anything to get good grades in school in the understanding that they are improving their chances of getting lucrative jobs on graduation.

In the workplace, extrinsic motivation may be initiated by . . .

  • the work conditions
  • the remuneration package
  • the reward system
  • the career development potential and/or
  • the reputation, goodwill, or social status that results from working for the organization

    All of these are factors that invoke in applicants a passionate drive to work in a particular organization.

    Our concern is: How can leadership teams harness this power? How can the leadership of organizations use the power of these motivational factors to drive improvements in the organization?

    My advice will be to use a two-prong approach. Use the intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation concepts to good advantage.


    Match people to tasks or jobs that excite and motivate them naturally. Give employees assignments that fit into their being and they will run with it with minimal supervision by you.

    Imagine the results your organization would achieve if everyone was assigned to jobs they love!

    Hey, this is big deal!


    About 70% of people are currently unhappy with their jobs. They want a change of career. They are weeping inside!

    Some of these people are in your organization. They come to work every day. They sit at their desks doing jobs they detest and hating you for giving them those jobs.

    How do you put this theory to use?

    For starters, do a poll in your organization. List out all the job functions you have and tell your employees to select the jobs they will love to do . . . the job they dream about every day. You will be amazed by the results.

    What do you do with this information?

    Use it to match people to jobs in the long-term. Use it to draw a career development plan for your people.

    With respect to extrinsic motivation, be sure to analyze your systems to be sure you're the preferred employer in your industry.

    The truth is . . . extraordinary results are created by extraordinary people. And extraordinary people are people who are committed and motivated by what they do.

    Use the power of intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation to explode your organization's results.

    Be the preferred leader. Achieve results.

    Back To Home Page From Intrinsic Motivation

    Subscribe To The Leadership Advisor Newsletter