Intro to Motivation

Motivation is a key part of leadership.  Without motivation, it is hard to get someone to do what they wouldn’t normally do.  There are many forms of motivation some good, others less effective, and some even dirty and manipulative.  This section looks at how motivation is and should be done within the church.

What motivates you? What pushes you to excel? What pushes you to put forth the extra effort? How can you motivate others?

Motivation is recognizing and utilizing the inner motives (drives or needs) of a person to get him to want to do what needs to be done. The leader should recognize that there is a cause (usually an identifiable one) for the way people think and act. People act the way they do because of a cause, and good leaders will seek to understand the cause-effect relationship behind the actions of people. The causes for actions will be based on a person’s value system, needs, and goals.

The Christian’s value system should reflect his relationship to Christ.

Motivation comes from within a person. Motivation is a product of the will of a person, and not the will of a leader. To increase motivation, the leader must stimulate the followers to feel dissatisfaction with the status quo. Then the follower is ready to do something to change the situation.

Motivation is different for paid workers and for volunteer workers. In the church, much of the work must be done by volunteers. The job role is primary for paid workers, and only secondary for volunteers. Dedication and commitment become much more important motivators for volunteer workers.

Motivation and need

People join and work in organizations to satisfy their needs. They are attracted to organizations that have the means of satisfying their needs. These means are called incentives or rewards; organizations use them to induce people to contribute their efforts toward achieving organizational goals. The continued existence of an organization depends on its ability to attract and motivate people to achieve these personal and organizational goals.

Motivation is goal directed behavior. It concerns the level of effort one exerts in pursuing a goal and is related to satisfaction and performance.

Almost all theories of motivation are built on need satisfaction. There are many different needs in life that we satisfy.  There are physiological and safety needs.  There are social and self esteem needs.  There is also a need for growth which includes competence, achievement, independence, and self-actualization.  Studying needs helps to understand the internal causes of behavior.

When needs are not met a number of potential consequences can occur. Stress, anxiety, and frustration are produced. These then can produce a number of different possible consequences.

1. Invigoration where the blocked goal becomes more attractive and the worker works harder.
2. Aggression, which results in fights, strikes, accusations, sabotage, or displacement (blaming someone else).
3. Psychological withdrawal which produces apathy, low morale, carelessness, depression, and aloofness.
4. Physical withdrawal, resulting in tardiness, absenteeism, and turnover.
5. A recovery mechanism, which results in rationalization, substitution, reinterpretation, or reaction formation.

Motivation and behavior

There is a relationship between actions and causes and effects. People act as they do because of a cause or reason. To change actions, understand and change cause. Causes are based on value systems, needs, and goals. Study of motivation involves analysis of the factors which initiate and direct action.

What you do and the intensity with which you do it is caused by goals and need satisfaction. Needs provide pulls that cause a person to act as he does. A child of 3–4 begins to engage in purposeful activities. He moves for a purpose. Painting is with a purpose. Activity, behavior, or actions are motivated by a desire to attain a goal. Desire may be conscious or subconscious. Goals are the whys of behavior. To understand, predict, and control behavior, we must know what motivates people to behave. People differ in desire and ability. The strength of a motive can change.

1. Behavior. Behavior is motivated by a desire to attain some goal. Desire may be conscious or subconscious. Behavior is a series of activities or actions. To understand, predict, and control behavior, we must know what motivates people to behave.

2. Motives. People differ in ability and desire to do. Motivation depends on strength of motives. Motives are directed toward goals––they are the “whys” of behavior. Motives are needs.

3. Goals. Incentives that are outside of an individual.

4. Changes in motive strength. The need (motive) with the greatest strength causes activity.

Changes can be caused by:

Need satisfaction

Blocking need satisfaction. If several attempts to satisfy a need are blocked, the person will substitute goals that satisfy the need (shift from athletes to academics).

Cognitive Dissonance. When a person fishes all day and catches nothing, he talks about how pretty the day was.

Increasing motive strength. Some needs are on a cycle. Food is not much motivation right after a big meal, but five hours later it is.

Frustration. Cannot achieve goal, produces:

Aggression – hit something

Rationalization – makes excuses, someone else’s fault

Regression – revert to more primitive and/or childish behavior (i.e., temper tantrum, kick car that won’t start).

Fixation – continues to do same thing, although has proven unsuccessful. Excessive punishment can cause a fixation (or eliminate the behavior), but is hard to predict.

Resignation – or apathy – occurs after prolonged frustration when people lose hope of accomplishing goals.

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