Helping People Work With People

How do I motivate people?

In over two decades of helping people work with people, the number one question asked is “How do I motivate people?” To be certain that we’re on the same page, let’s define motivation as — creating a psychological condition that arouses an individual to achieve a desired goal.

Let’s approach the answer to this question historically. There are many theories of motivation, but we will highlight a couple of classics and we promise not to write a history book.

Theory X vs. Theory Y

Motivating people has probably been an issue since humans populated this earth and created organizational life. Leaders emerged and their authority allowed them to direct and control. Douglas McGregor labeled this leadership style Theory X. McGregor proposed that management practices stem from the manager’s perception of the basic nature of people.

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