Getting employees to move is easy. But driving genuine commitment? That’s an art. Let’s explore pioneering research on intrinsic motivation and practical frameworks identifying “currencies” that catalyze engagement.

Rethinking Conventional “Kicks In The Ass” Motivation

Psychologist Frederick Herzberg revolutionized motivation models in the 20th century. He argued typical “kicks in the ass” tactics like rewards and threats only secure compliance, not commitment. Like training a dog, they induce movement, not motivation.

The Dual Nature of Motivation

Herzberg found job satisfaction stems from intrinsic motivators like achievement, responsibility, and growth. Dissatisfaction is driven by extrinsic factors like pay and job security. While extrinsic motivators prevent dissatisfaction, they don’t directly fuel satisfaction and engagement.

Introducing the Five Motivational Currencies

Leadership experts Cohen and Bradford identified “currencies” – resources that can be exchanged to acquire influence and amplify engagement. These include:

Inspiration Currencies: Vision, excellence, values

Task Currencies: Resources, challenges, assistance

Position Currencies: Recognition, visibility, reputation

Relationship Currencies: Inclusion, understanding, kindness

Personal Currencies: Gratitude, ownership, affirmation

Applying Currencies to Foster Commitment, Not Just Compliance

Managers should tailor motivational strategies by identifying the most resonant currencies for each employee. Distinguish intrinsic motivators that inspire commitment from extrinsic hygiene factors that if adequate, merely prevent dissatisfaction.

Understanding the intricacies of motivation is key to igniting passion. When tailored strategically, these currencies unlock devotion reaching far beyond compliance.


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