“Motivation is a better predictor of future success and outweighs skills, smarts or salary!”

–Aaron Rennert

Last week, I began this five-part series with my blog about recognizing leadership and the importance of maintaining a positive attitude. This week, I will be discussing how truly great leaders have a motivating personality and how that motivation spreads throughout their team. It is my belief that self-motivation is something you are born with and that real leaders are loaded with it. While being motivated is a critical element in leadership, it must be accompanied with ability, otherwise you are motivating no one with nothing.

Basically, there are three kinds of motivation: Personal, Social and Structural. Let’s evaluate personal motivation first. Personal motivation is what gets you out of bed in the morning. The difference between leaders and non-leaders is that leaders keep that morning motivation working for them all day long. They are the ones that have an extra bounce in their step and always seem to be in a good mood. They are the ones who were seemingly born with the ability to keep focused and to help others do the same. In short, they possess personal motivation and utilize their interpersonal abilities to instill it in others. This motivational attitude permits them to keep their eye on the long-term goals of a project or company.

Social motivation is the setting where one finds themself motivated by their social setting – i.e. they use a group mentality to motivate. Have you ever attended an office retreat or seminar where they encourage you and your co-workers to participate in trusting exercises? You know, the kind of thing where they ask you to close your eyes and fall backwards, forcing you to “trust” that a co-worker will catch you before you hit the ground? That’s just one small example of social motivation. Other examples include group sales contests or group attendance challenges. All of these examples depend upon social motivation to involve others and then inspire social ability to accomplish them. A good example of both social motivation and social abilities is when someone challenges their followers on Facebook to ‘like’ and or ‘share’ something. The social motivation inspires a follower to act; their social ability allows them to share and like.

The third type of motivation I would like to share with you today is structural motivation. Companies or groups that construct work place policies, relationships and expectations that structurally motivate their employees to do what they want them to do, best exemplifies structural motivation and structural ability. This kind of motivation is best simply described as using the carrot end of the ‘carrot and the stick’ philosophy of worker motivation, where the employer uses corporate policies and procedures that seemingly favor the employees over the employer. This “structure” motivates the employee because they can witness on a daily basis how doing their job is structurally rewarded. This can also be used in small groups, where individual opinion is taken into consideration in regards to the overall direction of the group.

The bottom line about motivation is that when applied properly, motivation will encourage your employees or group members to do their best, without having to be spoken to or externally spurred to perform their job to the best of their abilities. Leaders have the internal motivation necessary to do their best without any outside help or incentives. That’s why others look to them for direction and context in their daily routine.

In my third blog discussing the five traits of leadership, will be covering the importance of decisiveness. While born leaders share the ability to be decisive on a regular basis, anyone can learn how to be more decisive and gain the advantage from doing so. Until then, thanks for reading… now, go out and motivate someone!

Aaron Rennert, Vice President Worldwide Sales and Marketing, GM Sisel International

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 Go To Part 1.