What motivates your colleagues?

In answer to “What is a person’s motivation at work?” we often hear responses such as money, promotion, a career path or purpose in the job. These are very valid and natural responses and can shape a person’s long term goals at work, but what motivates a person on a daily or weekly basis at work? What motivates people to successfully work on the task at hand? These questions can be difficult for directors, managers and team leaders to answer. Some reasons that it can difficult for them to answer are because they assume that their colleagues have the same motivations as them, their colleagues are driven to follow the company’s mission statement or that their colleagues will find a way of increasing their own motivation at work by themselves. We recommend a positive psychology approach to motivation at work.

Lack of motivation at work

It may be in companies that there are a number of employees who are exhibiting signs that they are lacking in motivation at work. These signs can be poor performance, disinterest in tasks, lack of direction and lower job satisfaction. All in all, the lack of motivation at work for colleagues may be as a result of employee disengagement. If employees are disengaged from their work, then not only can this effect their own attitude and performance, but it could also spread to their colleagues.

Increasing employee engagement

Is there a way in which you can increase employee engagement, so that your colleagues are more motivated? In positive psychology, a large emphasis is placed on human strengths and how an awareness of strengths and application of them can lead to optimal performance of people. We consider a strength to be an activity that we excel at, provides enjoyment, is energising and comes naturally to us. We won’t go into details about strengths in this article, but please feel free to sign up to our free 3 weeks strengths course to understand more about your own strengths and how to apply them.

Research suggests that there is a link between strengths and employee engagement, in that applying strengths increases focus and engagement in tasks, which is why we are working with companies to implement a positive psychology culture that focuses on strengths to increase employee engagement and motivation at work.

Motivating your colleagues

Having learnt a language for strengths and taken time to understand your own strengths, one of the most effective ways that you can motivate your colleagues is to employ a skill called strengths spotting. With this approach, you will observe when your colleagues are performing at their best and consider what strengths were being used. If you already have concerns about a colleague’s lack of motivation, recall a time when they were firing on all cylinders and contemplate what strengths were present and being applied. Being able to spot the strengths of your colleagues can mean that you can assign tasks to play to their strengths. This way your colleagues will be using their talents, working on something they enjoy and will be energising, which will lead to increased motivation to work on the task and will result in greater employee engagement.

Learning more

To find out more about motivation at work, strengths, resilience and positive psychology, please join us on our UK university accredited Introduction to Positive Psychology course. Alternatively, if you would like us to come and run a course for your organisation, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your requirements in more detail.


‘Maximising Potential’