Motivate yourself to achieve in the workplace


Years ago, I took a course on how to develop supervision skills in new managers. During one lecture, the professor stated that employees are not motivated by money. This philosophy was foreign to me, as it did not resonate with my desires or my motivators.

This revelation prompted me to do a literature search and ask people about what motivates them to excel.  As you can imagine, the responses were as varied as the people.

To be motivated is to feel inspired and excited and to look forward to doing something. Some factors that motivate us are both the type of work and the environment in which we perform it.

While we may know the kind of work we want to do, we are often unaware of what really motivates us. Motives often appear to be a need, a driving force or strong concern which often drives us to complete a goal.

According to Forbes Magazine, there are nine things that ultimately motivate employees to have optimum performance. As you read this, think of how you associate with each of them.


1. Trustworthy leadership

Leaders who have your back and who are looking out for your best interests will win the trust of their employees, who in turn will be more motivated to achieve. Trust is a powerful motivational tool, and those leaders who are more transparent with their employees will find surprising results and new types of opportunities to develop talent.


2. Being relevant

Employees are in search of new ways to learn, improve their skills and invest in themselves. This is an opportunity for you to help your manager to get involved and understand how to build the depth and breadth of your skill sets and aptitudes.


3. Proving others wrong

This particular motivation to achieve has been heightened as of late from younger professionals that seek to prove themselves faster amongst older generations in the workplace. Employees never want to be stereotyped or marginalized, but for many younger professionals this serves as the trigger to awaken them from within. This is not a generational issue, as many of us have been questioned about our ability to achieve at a high level.


4. Career advancement

Perhaps the most important factor on this list is the ability to advance. Employees are extremely motivated to achieve if this means that advancement awaits them. This requires employees to be mindful of opportunities that lie around beneath and beyond what they seek. Help your manager to help you in becoming upwardly mobile, and then ask yourself, “Am I savvy at identifying and seizing opportunities?


5. No regrets

People only have a few real chances in their careers to reach their ultimate goals. In fact, how many times do you meet people who are more successful than you are and you wonder how they got there? People don’t want to live with any regrets in their career/life and thus are motivated to not disappoint themselves.


6. Stable future

People are motivated to have safety and security. Everyone wants a stable future, but you never know when time will pass you by. We have all learned from the 2008 economic collapse that we can all quickly become victims of unplanned organizational change without warning.


7. Self-indulgence 

People are motivated for selfish reasons to achieve, be it with money, attention, fame, etc. As an employee, be aware that not all of your motivations are well-intentioned. Self-indulgence can bring tremendous short-term benefits — with long-term repercussions.


8. Impact

Employees are motivated to achieve more than ever simply by the opportunity to create impact. As an employee, strive to add value to your employer through your role.


9. Happiness

Happiness is one of the greatest motivations to achieve. Happiness fuels ones self-esteem, gives hope for a better tomorrow, and creates a sense of wellbeing.


Tammy McIntyre, M.Ed. is a workforce development consultant providing individuals and small businesses with career development services. She welcomes reader responses to