Types of Motivation for Career Advancement (With Examples)

Motivation is a crucial element for your career growth. It can either come from within you (intrinsic motivation) or from external factors (extrinsic motivation). Understanding different motivation types can help you use motivation more effectively to improve your productivity and dedication levels. In this article, we explain the meaning and types of motivation, along with some examples to facilitate a better understanding of the concept.

Why should you know the different types of motivation?

It is important to know the different types of motivation in order to use all the types of motivation more effectively in different situations. There can be different factors that may motivate you consciously or subconsciously to achieve your career goals. Understanding different types of motivations makes you aware of those factors and how they affect your work environment. This, in turn, helps you apply those motivating factors to your situation more effectively to speed up your career growth.

If you are working in a managerial position, you can also use your understanding of motivation to improve the performance of your team members.

What is motivation?

Motivation is the driving force that guides your behaviour or makes you take certain actions. You need motivation to stay committed to your goals and objectives. For example, you may want to earn a promotion to a higher position in your company. This may act as a motivation to perform your tasks well and achieve your sales targets consistently. You may also consider acquiring specific skills to enhance your performance.

Motivation is intangible and can be difficult to measure. However, it is easy to motivate someone if you use the right factors and strategy. Motivation can come from conscious or subconscious factors. Employers like to have motivated employees because they contribute to the organisation’s success.

Intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation

We can broadly categorise motivation as intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is one that comes from within you, while extrinsic motivation comes from an outside source.

Intrinsic motivation

Intrinsic motivation drives you to accomplish a task because of an internal reward. You may be conscious or unaware of such reward, which is often intangible. For example, if you perform something because you find it interesting or it gives you personal satisfaction, it is an example of intrinsic motivation. Even though it does not involve any external reward, you find the efforts worthwhile.

Intrinsic motivation is perhaps the best type of motivation because you do not need anyone else to drive you to action. When you are volunteering for community service without expecting anything in return, it is the intrinsic motivation that is guiding you.

Intrinsic motivation is the reason for choosing a career that aligns with your personal interests. When you do something that interests you, you are likely to do it more sincerely and dedicatedly, increasing your chances of success at it.

Extrinsic motivation

Extrinsic motivation has an external factor that drives you to take action. The motivation can be in the form of a reward or a punishment. For example, if your company offers you a performance bonus for achieving a certain sales target, it is extrinsic motivation in the form of a reward. However, if the company deducts a certain percentage of your salary for not achieving your sales target, it is an example of extrinsic motivation in the form of punishment.

Positive extrinsic rewards can take the form of money, praise, status or some other non-monetary compensation. Similarly, negative extrinsic rewards can be in the form of a monetary loss, disciplinary action or a missed opportunity, among others.

Unlike in the case of intrinsic motivation, the reward earned in extrinsic motivation may not fulfil your personal needs. Instead, you may have to sacrifice your time and interests to achieve an extrinsic goal. However, sometimes you may get an extrinsic reward in addition to intrinsic motivation. For example, if you get a job offer that gives you an opportunity to work in your area of interest and also offers higher pay, you would be getting an external reward (higher pay) in addition to intrinsic motivation (doing what interests you).

Read more: Top Qualities of an Outstanding Leader

Types of motivation

Following are the major types of motivation you usually get to see in workplaces:

1. Affiliation motivation

Affiliation motivation is the social need to have a sense of belonging to a certain organisation or a group of people. When you desire to associate yourself with a group or organisation, you strive to interact with the members of the group and look forward to contributing to group activities. Thus, affiliation motivation drives you to build connections and relationships in the workplace. As a result, it can help you improve communication, interpersonal and teamwork skills.

For example, you may derive motivation from the fact that you work for a reputed company that promotes art and culture and gives you opportunities to meet Bollywood personalities and other celebrities. This affiliation motivation may knowingly or unknowingly encourage you to socialise, participate in team activities and make connections outside your work, which in turn may also help the company build connections with the artists.

Read more: Core Values: Overview and Examples

2. Competence motivation

Competence motivation comes from the desire to become competent or proficient in what you do. It pushes you to develop your skills and abilities through further education and training. As an employee, you may join certification courses and learn advanced-level techniques relevant to your industry or area of expertise. Similarly, you may be excited to learn the new software your company installed so that it adds to your skill set. Thus, competence motivation helps you acquire professional skills, learn new techniques, train your team members and establish yourself as a capable leader.

A company can offer competence reward through various means, such as:

  • Sponsoring employees for professional seminars and conferences
  • Facilitating online modules for continued professional development
  • Organising training programs in the office
  • Giving promotion priority to employees who achieve certain certifications
  • Turning highly skilled employees into part-time trainers for new recruits

Read more: How To Stay Focused When You Work From Home

3. Achievement motivation

Achievement motivation gives you a feeling of satisfaction in accomplishing a certain goal. The goal in such cases can involve earning a professional acknowledgement or recognition. Hence, if you are achievement motivated, you would not be satisfied with a project unless it earns you the desired recognition. Thus, achievement motivation makes you goal-oriented and drives you to excel in a given project.

For example, if you are a scientist working on a research project to create a vaccine against a deadly virus, the motivation for your work may come from the self-satisfaction or the huge recognition you would get on creating a life-saving vaccine. Since the discovery itself would act as a motivation, the commercial value of the discovery would be immaterial for you.

Companies can take the following measures to promote achievement motivation at work:

  • Instituting or participating in industry awards and recognitions
  • Felicitating and issuing certificates to team members of a successful project
  • Implementing ’employee of the month’ or a similar program to acknowledge top-performing employees
  • Typing up projects with the unique value and importance they hold for the society or mankind

4. Incentive motivation

In incentive motivation, potential reward acts as the motivating factor. Incentive-motivated people invest their time and efforts to pursue something for a worthwhile reward. If you are incentive motivated, you will work best if your performance is tied to appropriate compensation.

The incentive compensation can be in the form of money or kind, such as paid holidays, gift coupons or a free trip to an exotic location. It may involve rewarding employees for each task, on completion of the entire project or at the end of a certain period.

You can use incentive motivation to increase your earning ability. For example, if you want to earn the incentive, you can motivate yourself to perform better by thinking of the luxuries you can acquire with the additional pay.

Here are some common examples of incentive motivation in the workplace:

  • Paying overtime allowances to employees who work beyond normal working hours
  • Giving extra paid leaves to employees who meet the given sales target
  • Sharing with the employees 10% of the profits from the revenue that they generate over and above the set target

5. Power motivation

Power motivation refers to the motivation that comes from the desire to attain a position of power, authority and influence. For example, if you desire to reach a position that lets you direct the behaviour of other people, you are driven by power motivation. There are certain positions like that of politicians, teachers and journalists that have an inherent power attached to them.

Sometimes, a higher position within your own organisation, such as that of a senior manager or a director, gives you the authority to guide and influence other employees. In such cases, power motivation would drive you to excel in your work or undergo certain management training in order to rise to the position where you can be in charge of the team.

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