5 Psychological Concepts About Motivation Every Business Owner Must Know

Previously on our blog, we talked about how to motivate your sales team through the use of different motivational tools. Today, let’s take a deeper look at the concept of motivation itself. There are many psychological theories to explain how motivation occurs, or where it comes from. Here are five psychological concepts you must know about in order to create a more successful work environment.


Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

It might be an old and well-worn theory, and researchers have discovered much more about the concept of motivation since, but Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is still a good place to start in order to understand how motivation is structured. Unless we have prioritised our needs, motivation remains as a distant wish.  

Maslow’s theory aims to organise our basic needs in a certain order, using a pyramid structure to demonstrate – the most primitive needs at the base, rising to more lesser, but still important needs, at the top. It symbolizes the idea that people are motivated to achieve certain needs in a certain order. It goes without saying that some of our needs are more important than the others. You cannot expect your employees to work with at a high-performance level if they’re basic needs are not met.

Adam’s Equity Theory  

Equality is one of the major elements people desire in any environment, especially at work. Your employees want to feel that their contribution is valued and that the benefits of everyone’s work is equally distributed. The core belief behind Adam’s equity theory is that people value fair treatment and that fair treatment always motivates individuals. If you want to imagine a few specific examples, think about shift scheduling or salary structuring in your workplace. Considering these and other elements of your broader work environment, do you think that your employees are both satisfied and feel equal?

Ryan and Deci’s Self Determination Theory  

Ryan and Deci’s self-determination theory focuses on two elements as its core values, both of which are crucial to fostering a successful work environment. The first is that a sense of achievement is very important in our lives. As humans, we want to feel that we are a valuable part of society; we want to contribute and, in our careers specifically, develop professionally in order to reach the highest position available in a particular field. 

The other is autonomy, the freedom we have, and that is very important too. To a certain degree, people should be able to make their own decisions in order to feel that their contribution is valued. In some situations, you have to trust your employee that they will make the right decision. If you don’t provide this kind of freedom and working environment, besides a lack of motivation, employees may also lose the ability to improve as individuals.

Locke And Latham’s Goal Setting Theory

Having a goal to reach will always encourage your employees to put extra effort into their work. The specificity and difficulty level of a goal is the main key to its success. If you want to motivate your employees with a goal, remember to create something specific. It can’t be too strict but neither not too flexible. The difficulty level of the set target also affects how much effort your employees put into their work. When a goal is perceived as too difficult to reach, we tend to give up more quickly, but if it is too easy, we do not take it seriously, get bored, and underperform.

Positive Effect Theory

The happier we are, the more motivated we are. This is, in essence, the main idea behind the positive effect theory. Pleasure and positive effects are the primary root causes of motivation. And this pleasure can come from our many different needs. Building a close relationship with your employees can help you to discover different ways to make them feel happy and motivated. And remember, contented employees tend to perform better, which will ultimately improve your bottom line.

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