Motivation can be tricky, but studies show that there’s one important factor that can be hugely effective in cultivating it: Making decisions. As psychologist and author Angela Duckworth explains, this is why it’s important to offer people choices when you’re trying to motivate them.
Photo by Blondinrikard Fröberg
Maybe you’re trying to motivate your employees, a friend or your children — you’ll do well to offer them choices. Duckworth cites a study published in Advances in Positive Organizational Psychology in which workers were instructed to look for ways to make their current job more interesting and meaningful. The study concluded:
Job crafting offers an important contribution to this field by envisioning employees not as passive recipients of job characteristics, but as active participants in the construction of the meaning of their work and themselves
Over at MarketWatch, Duckworth discussed how to use the findings to motivate other people. Children, for example.:
It sounds a little naive and pie in the sky. But weeks later, people were more satisfied in their jobs through this tiny intervention and their managers said they performed better…Kids need choice. There’s this really awesome theory of human motivation — that human beings all want three things. One is to be competent, one is to belong, and one is be free, as in to have choice, to not be told what to do but to choose what to do. Kids will never fully develop a passion for something unless at some point and in some way they feel they have chosen what they’re doing as opposed to having it chosen for them.
This idea goes hand in hand with what I learned in Charles Duhigg’s new book. He cites a 2012 study from the journal Problems and Perspectives in Management that found people who believe their actions affect their destiny typically have higher levels of motivation. As Duhigg pointed out, if you can link tasks to a choice you care about, and then make that choice meaningful, it will go a long way in motivating you to complete it.
For more insight on the matter, check out Duckworth’s full interview at the link below.
Do this one thing to help your kids develop ‘grit’ [MarketWatch]