“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

Tapping Emotions for Motivation: Six Essential 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: 3 Practitioners’ Stories of Leveraging EQ Skills 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.
Four Steps to A More Intentional Life (3/6/2018) by Maria Jackson - A life coach shares her approach to practicing a life full of vision, meaning, and treasure hunts.
Engage Intrinsic Motivation in the Six Seconds EQ Model (5/2/2017) by Michael Miller - What is "intrinsic motivation," why does it matter, and how can it be enhanced? Emotions are the key... here's a summary of the science & practice of emotional intelligence for lighting the fire within.
Motivating College Students from Inside Out (8/17/2016) by Rachel Goodman - Professors can teach emotional intelligence concepts and activities to college students to boost motivation It’s 8:00am in Professor Samuel’s calculus class and the seats are full of community college students. What made those students get out of bed so early to attend? What keeps them coming back and what motivates the students who are getting top grades? Could it be the scintillating way the teacher talks about math, or is it something else related to emotional intelligence?   These are ...
How EQ Helped Me Run 100K (10/8/2015) by Six Seconds - When we are faced with challenges, how can we use emotional intelligence to vault over barriers we thought were unbreakable? My name is Lara Williams and I am 44 years old, married and a mother of two girls. I love the outdoors. But, I have never really said to anyone, including myself, that I am a runner. I remember the day when I got asked to run 100 kilometers with 3 other girl friends. “100k!” I said with sheer disbelief ...
Is EQ Vital for Change? (4/22/2015) by Rachel Goodman - When an international IT team set out to transform their org, they found change is not just a logical process.  Using emotional intelligence mentoring and the Vital Signs climate assessment, they developed a process to make change effective. Here's how it works. When is the last time you looked forward to change in your workplace? Did it produce anxiety or positive anticipation, or both? [Tweet "Since we face change all the time, why is it still so difficult?"] A Conversation ...

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

Writer at Six Seconds
Michael Miller is a writer and contributor for Six Seconds who lives in Santa Cruz, California. He is passionate about living a balanced, healthy lifestyle and helping others to do the same. You can reach him at [email protected]

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