Intrinsic Motivation - Leader EQ
Research has identified five components of Emotional intelligence. These elements include:
Self-Awareness - the ability to recognize and understand your moods, emotions, and drives, as well as their effect on others
Self-Regulation - the ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods: the propensity to suspend judgment - to think before acting
Intrinsic Motivation - a passion for working for reasons that go beyond money or status: a propensity to pursue goals with energy and persistence
Empathy - the ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people: skill in treating people according to their emotional reactions
Social Skill - proficiency in managing relationships and building networks: an ability to find common ground and build rapport
Successful leaders are driven to achieve beyond expectations irrespective of external recognition or award. These leaders feel a deeply embedded desire to achieve for the sake of achievement. We'll call this endless drive to achieve, Intrinsic Motivation.
Intrinsic motivation is the drive to achieve and to do more without reward or recognition. This is in contrast to doing something to get something. There's a fine line between intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. While it is common for individuals to be motivated by external factors such as a salary increase, achieving an impressive title, or even becoming part of a prestigious company, these factors are not the same classification of motivation described here. External motivation is doing something to get something. Intrinsic motivation is doing something because you feel like it's the thing to do. Research has identified this distinction between external and intrinsic motivation as a key component to leadership success. Successful leaders have a well-fueled intrinsic motivation meter that drives them to do more.
One of the signs of intrinsic motivation is an individual's passion for the work or a desire to seek out creative challenges for no other reason except to complete the challenge. Individuals who are intrinsically motivated love to learn and take great pride in a job well done, even when no one acknowledges the outcome. Leaders who are intrinsically motivated display an unwavering drive to do things better, they always try to find a better way to achieve the task, and they possess a deep appreciation of personal Kaisen -- a passion for constant self-improvement.
Leaders that are intrinsically motivated like to understand how everything works and will frequently ask questions to help them explore a topic. They may be persistent with a series of questions as they are eager to explore new solutions to an existing problem and may seem to have an endless supply of energy to find a better alternative to achieve a goal. In this way, they may seem restless to improve the status quo because they are always thinking about how to make things better, which can be annoying to folks who don't like change.
The Harvard Business Review published an article that presented the following example. "A cosmetics company manager was frustrated that he had to wait two weeks to get sales results from people in the field. He finally tracked down an automated phone system that would beep each of his salespeople at 5 pm every day. An automated message then prompted them to punch in how many calls and sales they had made that day." This process to prompt salespersons to report their activity daily shortened the feedback time from weeks to hours and improved sales because the sales team knew they were being monitored daily.
This story about cosmetics managers also presents two traits that are common among Leaders with Intrinsic Motivation: They are always shooting to achieve more, and they love to keep score.
The intrinsic motivation element of striving to achieve more is balanced by a degree of self-awareness to know one's limits. The leader with high emotional intelligence (EQ) will possess self-awareness, self-regulation, and intrinsic motivation that combined leads to a neutralizing impact of that trait that could be disruptive. This governing impact is also applied to the intrinsic motivation's drive to measure results. Also, the intrinsically motivated employee with a high EQ will know their limits and not ask for more, just as the high EQ Leader knows when they are pushing too hard because their self-awareness is coupled with perception and empathy to motivate and inspire their staff without driving them away.
Research demonstrated that individuals with a high degree of intrinsic motivation remain optimistic in the workplace and even when the measurement mechanism they helped to install generated a score that is against them. When this happens, their self-regulation combines with achievement motivation to overcome the frustration that accompanies a setback or failure. When externally motivated leaders may blame others for the failure, the intrinsically motivated manager will reset and regroup, then drive to achieve again.
The last key factor of internal or intrinsic motivation is how the hiring practice of an appreciation for this trait is likely to build a team that is able to reach significant levels of achievement. Employees with intrinsic motivation are more likely to embrace a commitment to the organization and strive to achieve for the team's benefit. When employees love their jobs because of the internal satisfaction they experience, given their high EQ, they are more likely to experience organizational commitment and help to drive this experience in others.
It is obvious that Leaders with high EQ and high Intrinsic Motivation are able to translate these traits into effective leadership. Leading by example and hiring employees that share the intrinsic motivation will like result in a top-performing organization where happy people lead to happy customers.
Some of this information is from The Harvard Business Review article called What Makes a Leader? You can find the full article here.
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Dr. Schell is CEO, Managing Partner, and Co-Founder of Mortgage Banking Solutions and the Founder of MBS Financial Services ("MBS"), based in Austin, Texas. Dr. Schell is known for his ability to turn "vision into reality" and "chaos into order" as he finds creative solutions to the challenges his clients face addressing Revenue Stability, Technology Enhancement, Financial Management, and Workflow Efficiency.
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