Use the motivation matrix to motivate people

As a project leader you often want other people to do something for you, or respective for the project. But what if someone is not motivated to do the work you want to delegate him. In this case you have to motivate the other. This doesn’t sound easy and unfortunately it isn’t easy. Real motivation comes from an intrinsic want to do something. “Intrinsic” means the other one really want to do it. In contrast you will often have an “extrinsic” situation, which means someone other – in this case you – wants another person to do something.

Within this article I want to show you a motivation matrix which you may use stepwise to motivate someone. By using this matrix you will at first try to call forth intrinsic motivation followed by extrinsic motivation.

 
The motivation matrix

Intrinsic (You want to do it) Extrinsic (Someone wants you to do it)
Pull (Explain the task) Joy Encouragement
Push (Call for task execution) Understanding Threat

 

The above matrix shows the motivation matrix. On the left side you will see your possibilities as project leader: you may explain the task and let the other person make the conclusions and accept the work or you may call explicitly for the task execution. On the top of the matrix you see the already explained attitude of your co-worker: he may be intrinsic or extrinsic, and this attitude also may change during the conversation. If you link the two attributes together they will result in four different combinations. Following I want to describe them in more detail.

 
Joy

You may show your co-worker the positive effect of the execution of the task. But only show the general positive effects and not the ones regarding your co-worker. He has to explicit derive his own goals and so you may reach an intrinsic demand to do the task.

Example: You want to delegate a task which is important for the line manager of your co-worker. So he things for himself that he may increase his esteem by executing this task timely and with a good quality.

 
Understanding

You have to show your co-worker which bad things he may prevent by executing the task. It may then happen that the other one will understand the issue and is motivated to do the task.

Example: You want to delegate a task which is important for the line manager of your co-worker. So you show him that the whole team waits for the execution of the task because they’re further work depends on the result. Maybe he sees the consequences and accepts the task to avoid such issues.

 
Encouragement

In this case you have to show the consequences which occur if the task will not be executed. In contrast to the previous point, where you have shown what will be prevented, you now show the things that will happen. That’s a very little but important difference because in the previous point you will not pressurize your co-worker, but in this case you will use a little bit different wording which results in more pressure.

Example: You want to delegate a task which is important for the line manager of your co-worker. So you show him that the whole team gets in trouble if the task is not executed. The further work of the team depends on this task and a late or bad execution will stop the whole project. Maybe he now fears the consequences and accepts the task.

 
Threat

Last but not least you can show what your co-worker has to fear for consequences if he don’t execute the task. Thus you have to threatening with future personal disadvantages.

Example: You want to delegate a task which is important for the line manager of your co-worker. So you show him that the whole team gets in trouble if the task is not executed. The further work of the team depends on this task and a late or bad execution will stop the whole project. If this happen you will give him the full responsibility of the stopped project and talk with his line manager about further actions.

 
How to use the motivation matrix

At first you always should think about your goals: What do you want to achieve? Then start at the left upper corner of the motivation matrix and try to arouse “Joy” by your co-worker. If this doesn’t work you can move through the motivation matrix. Go from “Joy” to “Understanding”, followed by “Encouragement” and as last solution “Threat”. Why is “Understanding” in front of “Encouragement”? Because the intrinsic factor is most important for motivation. So don’t switch these two steps and don’t forget the “Understanding” step.

If all steps don’t work, your last possibility is the “Threat” step and you have do threatening consequences. This is a heavy step, even for you, because maybe you have to accomplish these consequences. So threat only with things you are willing do to.

Last but not least you should prepare the talk. Go through all four steps of the motivation matrix and prepare the things you want to say. This will help you during the talk.

 
Summary

It is never easy to motivate others. By using the motivation matrix in the right way, you are a step closer to this challenging Goal.

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