Motivation is the reason or purpose behind action, or what causes one to act in a particular manner. Motivation can either be intrinsic or extrinsic in nature, yet it rests solely within the power of the individual actor to be motivated (or not) by intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. Motivation is an extremely important topic of discussion in the larger discourse on leadership. It is important because it provides the basis for human action, or inaction. Leaders must be able to understand what motivates their followers in a hope to use that knowledge to guide them to behave in a certain way that is beneficial for the organization. To do so, it behooves leaders to understand the basic concepts and theories of motivation that abound.
There is no shortage of motivational theories, just as there is none for leadership theories; however there are a few particularly important ones. It is interesting to note that even some of the most notable ideas of motivation are nothing more than untested hypotheses with simple anecdotal observations as a backbone that has served for years of...
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...role in aiding a leader in navigating the influence relationship of leadership. It also provides a greater level of cultural, and personal, awareness. Motivators, tweaked by persuasion, can be very powerful and lead to colossal good or catastrophic action. One must be ever mindful of one’s motivation for action and remain consistent with one’s commitments, ethics, and ethos.
Jennings, K & Stahl-Wert, J. (2003). The serving leader. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.
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Steers, R. M., Porter, L. W., & Bigley, G. A. (1996). Motivation and leadership at work. (6th ed.) New York: McGraw-Hill.
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