“Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.” ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

Engage Intrinsic Motivation Definition: To be energized and driven by personal values and commitments rather than by external forces.

Importance: Intrinsic motivation drives performance. Research shows that employees who are more engaged are more productive, and students who are more engaged in the classroom perform at the highest levels. If you want your organization to be as effective as it can be, you should focus on having employees who are motivated by the organization, its people, and the work itself.

Example: The difference between an engaged employee and one who is there to collect a paycheck is huge – and the difference is internal motivation. Whether it is a salesperson, a teacher, or a mechanic, the ones who truly love what they are doing do exemplary work. They go the extra mile, do more than what is necessary, and it shows in the quality of the work.

Engaging Intrinsic Motivation helps you infuse vitality into your life and organization. When you have truly engaged your own and others’ intrinsic motivation, the quality of your work changes drastically.

How to Engage Intrinsic Motivation

Whether your organization is a business, school, or family, here are some of the key components of engaging intrinsic motivation:

Develop powerful values. Before you can figure out if someone’s core values match your own, you need to know and clearly state your own values. While many organizations produce value statements out of necessity, those organizations with the most engaged employees make formulating its core values a key part of its business plan.

Connect with people. Humans are wired to connect, and one of the most fundamental intrinsic motivators is belonging. But leaders are often too busy for something as informal as hanging out with employees and talking about life outside of work. If you really want to engage the intrinsic motivation of your team, that has to change. Take time to simply connect, hang out and let your guard down. 

Constantly articulate purpose. Why does your organization exist? You need to have an answer to this question, and make sure your employees understand how their everyday actions relate to this overall purpose.


The Different Types of Motivators

As explained in The Motivation Iceberg, we need to understand that different motivators (things that move us) push us to be motivated for different kinds of goals.

Extrinsic: Examples of extrinsic motivators are bonuses, perks, fines and awards. They are concrete and require constant reinvestment. They generally come from the manager or the organization, which reinforces the existing power dynamic.

Intrinsic: Examples of intrinsic motivators are passion, alignment with values, and sense of belonging or purpose. They are intangible, abstract, and self-perpetuating. They come from the organizational climate and the relationships within the organization, which reinforces interdependence.

Video: Definition of “Engage Intrinsic Motivation”


Emotional Intelligence Articles about Intrinsic Motivation

Active Listening as a Leader: 4 Ways to Use Emotional Intelligence To Listen Well (7/12/2021) by Joshua Freedman - Exceptional leaders have mastered the art of deep, active listening. Here are 4 practical tips to use emotional intelligence to listen well. ...
Motivational Interviewing: 8 Questions to Ask Clients to Motivate Change (5/3/2021) by Michael Miller - Motivational interviewing is a communication technique that engages people’s intrinsic motivation to make changes – with powerful results. ...
3 Tips to Unleash Motivation – Even When Remote (12/4/2020) by Joshua Freedman - How do you use emotional intelligence to fuel lasting motivation? The Motivation Iceberg is a simple, clear model for understanding how to motivate - even in WFH during a pandemic. ...
Connect to Your Values with This Art Project (10/15/2019) by Maria Jackson - ...
Illuminate: 3 Steps to Acting on Your Values (5/20/2019) by Maria Jackson - We all make hundreds of decisions a day; do they align with your values? This week's Illuminate gives you three practical steps for identifying your values, putting them into practice, and making your life more aligned with your values. ...
Emotions for Motivation: 6 Tools to Fuel Energy (1/2/2019) by Joshua Freedman - What makes motivation... motivating? Three powerful questions, a free worksheet, and powerful ways to strengthen energy from within (which we all need, especially if we've just been setting challenging goals!) ...
Illuminate: Where Do You Want to Go? (12/15/2018) by Maria Jackson - Take a moment to clarify your (emotional, professional, physical) destination + represent it in a fun way. ...
Putting the SDGs Into Action With EQ (10/24/2018) by Joshua Freedman - If you could teach millions of people and raise their awareness & ability to advance the SDGs, what would you choose to teach? ...
Decision Making: Using EQ to Make Better Decisions (8/22/2018) by Michael Miller - Six Seconds’ State of the Heart report identifies the 3 components of emotional intelligence that predict good decision making. Here is the story of three EQ practitioners who have struggled, and succeeded, to cultivate each one. ...
How to Practice Emotional Intelligence: Tips for Choice (updated for 2018) (3/28/2018) by Michael Miller - Want to know how to practice emotional intelligence? Here are 10 expert tips from our worldwide network to choose yourself more effectively. ...

Click here for more Engage Intrinsic Motivation articles on our site


Recommended Tools

Management Essentials: Igniting Motivation: Igniting motivation involves engaging the heart and the mind. To set employees up to perform optimally, managers need the skills to inspire and engage by providing meaning, freedom to innovate and building trust. In this 2.5 hour module, managers learn how.

Value Sort Cards: Use these value sort cards to find out what is truly important to you.

At the Heart of Leadership: Where other books tell you about emotional intelligence, this book provides the roadmap to put it in action. Includes case for EQ, background, and detailed explanation of the Six Seconds EQ Model and how to use it to improve leadership — and a free code to test your EQ strengths online. 

The Leader as a Mensch: This insightful and engaging book speaks volumes on ways in which all of us, at any level, can improve our leadership impact and develop the humility, integrity, and honor that instills hope and confidence in others.

Michael Miller

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