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Appealing to Intrinsic Motivation - When Does It Become Manipulative?

As a leader, one needs to appeal to some level of intrinsic motivation.
In the office, if there is no intrinsic motivation, your employees become a bunch of freelancers on the payroll.
You might as well outsource your work instead of hiring internally.
And motivated employees are good for both the company and the employees.
We all know what it's like to work in a job that we dislike and manage an employee that does not like his job.

On the other hand, we know there are lots of owners and founders who keep espousing teamwork and

"What's good for the whole is good"

As we know, this is because owners and founders own the whole.
They directly benefit when the whole is doing well.
They are even smart enough to give employees small equity, which vests over time.
Employees now have an incentive to stick around to see the equity realise.
Golden handcuffs, a popular term in the business world.

Here are my thoughts:

Positive Appeal to Intrinsic Motivation

  • Hiring people who believe in your vision.
  • Finding out what your employees want for their long-term growth and trajectory (there's some appeal to extrinsic but I regard as more intrinsic)
  • Helping them achieve those long-term goals
  • Making the team culture open, collaborative so people look forward to contributing ideas

Manipulative Appeal to Intrinsic Motivation

  • Getting employees to work very long hours while you espouse how they are benefitting from the vision of the company
  • Spinning a value-taking vision into a value-adding vision so that employees will feel motivated to work

 

Related Thread In Private Section of Forum

Value-Adding Machiavellianism

 

Yeah, this one did make me think of that previous one that you linked at the end :).

I generally agree with your message, albeit I do believe that as long as you don't actively take advantage of people, then you're already good.

Taking care of people's growth, and helping them along the way is not something I'm too big into as it feels a bit paternalistic. I see people as adults in charge of their own development and opportunities.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Taking care of people's growth, and helping them along the way is not something I'm too big into as it feels a bit paternalistic. I see people as adults in charge of their own development and opportunities.

I'm also not too big on the paternalistic approach towards management as well.
It may come across as patronising and stifling.

Maybe I could phrase this in a different way, and we could expand this on another thread.
But I do think it's relevant towards intrinsic motivation so it could stay here.

For example, if there's a performance conversation or sharing session, I could ask a question

Me: How are you finding your sales position for the past year?

Him: I love sales. That being said, I'm actually quite interested in project management as well.

Me: We could certainly explore those opportunities.

In this way, the person takes charge of his career and leads the conversation. (using his for simplicity)
The manager facilitates his ambition with the interests of the larger company.
This would avoid people dropping out because they would like a career change.

The conversations I would avoid having are

Me: I would like to send you for sales training to advance your skills further.

Him: Okay, what do you have in mind?

Me: Next week, there is a course during a conference.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Got it, yeah, works great that way. Individual's generated self-growth, facilitaed and supported by the employment-giver.

Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
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