Definition of Motivation

So, you want to read and understand the definition of motivation.

To help you better understand the meaning of motivation, I will show you three different definitions of extremely related topics, I will show you how they are different among themselves, and I will show you how anyone of these subjects does not necessarily imply any of the other two.

1) Motivation
2) Commitment
3) Engagement

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1) Definition of Motivation

Motivation is your internal energy that thrusts your behavior to attain a particular goal.
Motivation is your interior power that makes you determined to accomplish a task.
Motivation is your inside force that propels you to do a certain job.

No matter what definition of motivation – in essence – motivation is your inner drive to do something.

However, keep in mind that nobody can motivate anybody. In other words, you cannot motivate your employees – you cannot force people to be intrinsically motivated.

Motivation by definition is an inner drive – and you cannot inject, introduce, or infuse this interior willpower into anyone.

Nevertheless, if it is true that you cannot motivate your employees, it is also true that you can create the conditions where your employees will feel motivated.

To read and learn about employee motivation techniques, please click here.

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2) Definition of Commitment

Commitment is your intellectual or emotional state of being bound to something, it is your internal conviction that binds you to something – this “something” could be an activity that you enjoy, a cause that you believe in, your Department, a leader you admire and respect, your organization, etc.

Commitment is the fuel that drives your loyalty.

You as the manager, you want your employees to be committed to your Department’s Vision (direction), Mission (cause), to you (their boss), and to your organization’s Vision, Mission, and Values (behavior guidelines).

Important: According to the definition of motivation here above, you may have a VERY motivated workforce, but if they are not committed to your organization, they may easily leave your company.

To learn about how to build commitment among your employees, please take a look at this short article (note that some of the things you need to do to motivate your employees are similar to the things you need to do to build commitment).

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3) Definition of Engagement

Engagement is a deep emotional, physical, and cognitive connection between what you do and who you are.

  • Emotional is your affection
  • Physical is your energy
  • Cognitive is your focus

    Put in different words, engagement is your internal conviction that drives your performance to do whatever it takes to do something right – engagement is your fuel that drives your performance beyond the call of duty (think righteousness)

    You as the manager, you want your employees to be engaged in their work – you want them to do whatever it takes to do their jobs to their best of their abilities.

    From this perspective, the definition of motivation here above falls short in comparison to this definition of engagement. You not only want motivated employees, but you want them engaged.

    Please note again, you may have committed employees to your organization but not engaged to the job – or on the contrary, you may have engaged employees to the task but not committed to your organization.

    To create engagement, you need a 100 per cent alignment between your organization, your department, and your employee (which is the subject of this entire website).

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    Final words:

    Motivation is not enough by itself, commitment is not enough by itself, and engagement is not enough by itself.

    Remember: You want a motivated workforce that is committed and engaged.

    I certainly hope this definition of motivation (together with the other two definitions) will help you accomplish just that.

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    If you would like your managers to learn more about my definition of motivation through my training, speaking or consulting services, please click on this link.

    To learn about the skills you need to manage the performance of your direct reports, go to my Management Skills page.

    To learn about the skills you need to lead the performance of your entire organization, go to my Leadership Skills page.

    To learn about other useful skills, go to my More Skills page.

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