Motivation — the willingness to get the job done by starting rather than procrastinating, persisting in the face of distractions, and investing enough mental effort to succeed — accounts for 40% of the success of team projects. Yet managers are often at a loss as to how to effectively motivate uninspired employees.
A recent review of research on motivation indicates that the key is for managers to first accurately identify the reason for an employee’s lack of motivation and then apply a targeted strategy. Carefully assessing the nature of the motivational failure — before taking action — is crucial. Applying the wrong strategy (say, urging an employee to work harder, when the reason is that they’re convinced they can’t do it) can backfire, causing motivation to falter further.