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Motivators Profile in Leadership Development


Job performance and team performance are both high-priority and highly complex issues for leaders, which are affected by many elements. (See: Layers of Performance Model)

Sometimes our consultants encounter problems within teams that are linked to an individual's or a manager's behavioural style (DISC), but more often than not, the real issues of performance lie much deeper; beyond the scope of the DISC profile.

One of the central aspects of job performance is motivation, since it is so closely tied to engagement.

Employee engagement is a perennial hot topic for leaders. There is a great deal of research on engagement and the many factors that influence an individual's decision to contribute their best efforts to the organisation.

Thousands of popular leadership books are purchased every year with advice on motivation covering the design of pay systems, to giving people time off work, to the best way to create a great place to work. None of this advice is wrong. But none of it will work the same way for every person in every company. Motivation is highly personal. What matters for one person may mean nothing to their peers.

The great thing about using the Workplace Motivators Model is that it provides leaders with a validated report on an individual's top passions. These passions (or motivators) are the central filter for determining what kind or work will excite and engage, and what will demotivate and demobilise.

If you are new to the Workplace Motivators Model, read an introduction here. 

How to Introduce Workplace Motivators to Leaders

There is no single best way to coach, train or facilitate a program on Motivators, so what follows is simply a scripted example to help illustrate one way that the topic might be introduced to a group of leaders.


Facilitator: “Welcome to [Leadership 101]. One of the cornerstones of this training is human relationships. Since leadership is all about people — inspiring and guiding others towards a common vision — we’re going to look at some practical strategies for motivating and engaging people at work.

This is perhaps the most basic question of leadership: how do we engage people?

For that matter, why do we even want them engaged in the first place? What’s the benefit? [Discussion]

What the last 10 years of key research on engagement has revealed is that what actually motivates people to love their jobs and be fully engaged at work — to work late hours, to give their most creative ideas, to say loyal to the company, to advocate the company to friends, to make more sales, to keep customers happy, to give their best work — comes down to something called intrinsic motivators.

These include things like autonomy, interesting work, the chance to be creative, opportunities to learn, room to grow, regular appreciation from their manager, having friends at work, and the perception that their work contributes to the good of society.

These sorts of things may not seem very important on the surface, but they are consistently found to have more of an impact on engagement than external incentives — things like a bigger salary, cash bonuses, better working conditions, time off work, or even the threat of punishment if they don’t do what you want.

As you may already know, when we find ourselves stuck in unhappy careers, it is often not the result of money or what it says on our business card, but because we don’t truly care about the work; it doesn’t excite our passion.

And so that’s what I want to talk to you about today: Passion.

By passion, I mean your core motivators and values. These are the things you care about which excite, energise and inspire you. For some this might be the opportunity to learn, for others it’s more important to be given the chance to be creative, and for others there’s nothing more thrilling than the opportunity to help others and make a positive difference in people’s lives.

As leaders, understanding our own passions, and those of others, is vital in leading change, selecting team members, delegating assignments, communicating with others, influencing others, preventing conflict, and getting maximum engagement.

A great deal of your success as a leader will depend on your ability to understand what makes different people tick. Today’s training will include a tool for identifying 6 major passions that play an important role in human relationships.

Following this introduction, the participants would then receive an overview of the six major motivators (passions / values), including what each factor measures, and the common characteristics, needs and wants associated with each. For a bit of fun, you might wish you use these famous characters as part of the activity.

The idea of the training from here is to help the leaders understand what conditions each of the six motivators respond to best, and how to adapt their leadership style in order to create the right kind of environment for their team members.

At this point, it is a good idea to present the leaders with their Motivators profiles (or some specific parts of them) so that they can relate the principles to their own situation. It's worthwhile to have all the leaders participate in activities and discussions that highlight important differences in their graphs, which works best if there are people with a range of different values in the room.

Once the leaders have a grounded understanding of the research and principles around the tool, and once they have established an awareness of their own values and that of others, we might provide them with some strategies to put the Motivators language into action with their teams.

This is where the Motivators framework is so invaluable. The leaders can then go back to their workplace and share the information with their teams and use the framework as a common language (or set of terms) to discuss their working preferences.

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Key Benefits of Motivators Profiling & Training for Leaders and Their Teams:

  • Build Trust: Trust is the most valuable resource that a leader has. While there are many factors that will build of erode trust, the leader that recognises and responds to others' passions will be in a much better position to gain the cooperation and commitment of those around them.
  • Inspire/Engage: The leader can tailor the content of their communication to each individual and convey the right message depending on each individual’s passion.
  • Hiring: Employee turnover is a painful problem for most managers. When an employee leaves, they don't only leave with valuable company knowledge, but their departure can disrupt team workflow and customer relationships, while the manager is required to spend their time interviewing, re-training and building a new relationship with a replacement. Finding people who are not only dedicated, but will stay loyal to the company for many years, is helped by recruiting people based on their values right from the start.
  • Assigning Tasks: Leaders are better positioned to determine what people enjoy certain tasks (and what people don’t) and therefore make more informed decisions about how to delegate projects.
  • Source of Conflict/Misunderstandings: Values are the true source of conflict. When we experience a clashing of opinion with someone, it is often rooted in a different belief system for valuing ideas and information. While disagreement is inevitable between any group of people, this can be alleviated by understanding the reason behind the clash of viewpoints, and to be able to predict how others will react in the future.
  • Tailor Reward and Recognition Plans: Not all people like to be rewarded in the same way. One person might be thrilled about receiving a new camera as a reward, while another is more electrified by a copy of a rare book on their favourite topic. The Workplace Motivators Model provides a framework for helping to determine which rewards might excite one person and not another.
  • Career Guidance: When we don’t have our most important motivators satisfied by our jobs, we will struggle to stay engaged. With a Motivators profile, leaders are more likely to prevent this mis-match from occurring. In some cases, this may mean changing the worker's role, re-locating them to a new division, or suggesting a new career path. In any scenario, a validated assessment makes this kind of decision clearer and easier for both parties.

Definitions for Reference

Job performance: getting people to achieve KPIs and targets 

Team performance: getting many different personalities to work together productively

Theo Winter

Theo Winter

Client Services Manager, Writer & Researcher. Theo is one of the youngest professionals in the world to earn an accreditation in TTI Success Insight's suite of psychometric assessments. For more than a decade, he worked with hundreds of HR, L&D and OD professionals and consultants to improve engagement, performance and emotional intelligence of leaders and their teams. He authored the book "40 Must-Know Business Models for People Leaders."

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