Leadership Habit 32: Motivate with Rewards

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Leadership Habit 32: Motivate with Rewards

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Some believe motivation is entirely intrinsic, no outside stimulus will change a person’s desire to perform. Others believe motivation has extrinsic factors and you just might be able to inspire action. Can you motivate with rewards?

motivate with rewards

The truth about motivation is that many things impact a person’s drive or desire to accomplish something. Workplace leaders are often interested in motivation because they see it as a way to increase team effectiveness, improve productivity, and ultimately impact the bottom line.

Some of the poorest choices for motivation are to motivate through fear or by giving an ultimatum. Inspiration is always a better choice.

Rewards might provide some of the backdrop for inspiration. Most of us are taught at a very young age that when we do something desirable for someone else we might get a reward. Perhaps we’re all working for the reward.

Motivate with Rewards

Here are a few examples of rewards:

  • Money. First on the list for many, especially when we are considering job performance, is money. Yes, money is often considered a form of reward largely because it gives people the freedom to choose their ultimate reward.
  • Trophy. You get a plaque on the wall for high achievement, employee of the month, and for being the best seller. This might also include ribbons, certificates of appreciation, and honorable mentions.
  • Position. Advancement for your career might be very valuable. When there is recognized opportunity and proof (others have been promoted) employees might work very hard, be very committed, and loyal. Usually there is another incentive, money.
  • Legacy. Some might be motivated by legacy. They are inspired by the narrative of the contributions of others. This is the picture on the wall, the hall of fame, or the reason for an entire product line or service.
  • Appreciation. Many employees will work hard for a cause or hard for something that creates impact. Impact is when their contribution is recognized (honored, celebrated) and it changes or fixes something important to them.

Most businesses are focused on bringing in the best people, keeping the best team, and accomplishing everything through the reward of a paycheck and benefits. Absolutely these are important, but there might be more to the story.

The Right Performance

The reward might not always be obvious and there is another side to rewards.

A child seeking attention might continue with an undesirable behavior because you’ll pay attention and spring into action. It’s often not much different in the grown-up world.

Give the team lots of rewards. Just be careful of the performance that you are rewarding.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

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