What is Intrinsic Motivation? How To Keep Your Team Motivated. Use these Key Factors for your Intrinsic Motivation examples

What is Intrinsic Motivation How To Keep Your Team Motivated (2) (1)


In today’s fast-paced business world, motivating your team is crucial for achieving success and maintaining a productive work environment. While external incentives like bonuses and promotions can boost performance in the short term, a more sustainable and powerful approach to motivation is tapping into intrinsic motivation. In this article, we’ll delve into what intrinsic motivation is and explore effective ways to keep your team motivated from within.

Understanding the Influence of Intrinsic Motivation

Before we dive into the strategies for motivating your team intrinsically, it’s essential to grasp the concept of intrinsic motivation itself. Intrinsic motivation refers to the internal desire and passion that drives individuals to engage in an activity for its inherent satisfaction and enjoyment rather than for external rewards. Unlike external motivation, which relies on external factors like money or recognition, intrinsic motivation comes from within and is deeply connected to personal values and interests.

Various factors influence intrinsic motivation, and as a leader, understanding these factors can help you create an environment that fosters motivation and engagement.

Intrinsic Motivation Theory

Intrinsic motivation theory suggests that individuals are motivated by internal factors and personal desires rather than external rewards or punishments. It proposes that people are naturally curious, driven by self-improvement, and have a need for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. According to intrinsic motivation theory, individuals engage in activities and pursue goals that they find inherently interesting, enjoyable, and fulfilling. They are motivated to learn, explore, and become proficient in areas that hold personal significance to them. They seek challenges and strive for mastery, not because of external rewards or pressures, but simply for the inherent satisfaction and sense of accomplishment they derive from these pursuits. Intrinsic motivation theory also emphasizes the importance of autonomy or the need to have control over one’s own choices and actions. When individuals feel empowered to make decisions and have a sense of ownership over their goals and tasks, they are more likely to experience intrinsic motivation. Competence is another key aspect of intrinsic motivation theory. People have an innate drive to develop and demonstrate their skills and abilities. When individuals feel competent in a particular domain or activity, they are more likely to feel motivated to engage in it. Lastly, intrinsic motivation theory highlights the importance of relatedness or the need to feel connected to others and have positive relationships. People are more likely to be intrinsically motivated when they feel a sense of belonging and social support. Overall, intrinsic motivation theory suggests that individuals are driven by internal factors such as curiosity, self-improvement, autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Understanding and harnessing intrinsic motivation can enhance engagement, productivity, and overall well-being. 

Self Determination Theory 1 1
Self Determination Theory 1 1

Self-Determination Theory

Self-Determination Theory Self-Determination Theory (SDT) is a theory of motivation and personality developed by psychologists Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan. The theory proposes that human motivation is driven by three basic psychological needs: autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Autonomy refers to the need to have control and choice over one’s own actions and decisions. When individuals feel autonomous, they are more likely to be intrinsically motivated and engaged in their activities. Competence refers to the need to feel competent and effective in one’s actions and interactions. When individuals feel competent, they are more likely to be motivated to improve their skills and achieve mastery. Relatedness refers to the need for social connection and meaningful relationships with others. When individuals have a sense of relatedness, they are more likely to feel accepted and supported, which contributes to their motivation and well-being. SDT argues that satisfying these three psychological needs leads to optimal motivation, well-being, and personal growth. Conversely, thwarting these needs leads to decreased motivation, psychological distress, and potentially negative outcomes. The theory also distinguishes between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation refers to engaging in an activity for its own sake, out of personal interest or enjoyment. Extrinsic motivation refers to performing an activity to attain external rewards or avoid punishment. SDT emphasizes the importance of intrinsic motivation and supports the idea that individuals are more likely to engage in activities and persist in the face of challenges when they are intrinsically motivated. However, extrinsic motivation can still be beneficial if it supports the satisfaction of the basic psychological needs. SDT has been extensively researched and applied across various fields, including education, psychology, sports, and organizational behavior. It has provided insights into understanding human motivation, promoting optimal well-being, and guiding interventions to enhance motivation and autonomy. 

Increase Intrinsic Motivation for Productivity Reinforcement

Intrinsic motivation refers to the inherent desire and enjoyment individuals have for engaging in an activity, without the need for external rewards or punishments. When it comes to productivity reinforcement, promoting intrinsic motivation can be far more effective and beneficial in the long run. Here’s how you can do it:
1. Autonomy: Give employees the freedom and flexibility to make decisions and take ownership of their work. This sense of autonomy empowers individuals to control their actions, leading to a higher level of intrinsic motivation.
2. Purposeful work: Clearly communicate the purpose and impact of each employee’s contribution to the overall goals of the organization. Helping them understand the significance of their work can foster a deep sense of meaning and motivation to perform well.
3. Mastery and growth: Provide opportunities for employees to continuously learn and develop their skills in their areas of interest. Encouraging personal and professional growth can fuel intrinsic motivation by allowing individuals to be consistently challenged and experience a sense of progress.
Remember, intrinsic motivation is more sustainable and enduring than extrinsic motivation, as it comes from within. By focusing on promoting autonomy, providing a purposeful work environment, fostering growth, offering feedback and recognition, creating a positive atmosphere, and encouraging creativity, you can cultivate intrinsic motivation for productivity reinforcement in your organization.

Intrinsic Motivation Factors that Promote Intrinsic Motivation

Some intrinsic motivation factors include:
1. Autonomy: The desire to have control and independence in one’s actions and decisions.
2. Mastery: The drive to acquire knowledge, skills, and expertise in a particular area.
3. Purpose: The belief that one’s actions and efforts contribute to a greater purpose or goal.
4. Curiosity: The innate desire to explore, learn, and discover new things.
5. Personal growth: The aspiration to continually improve and develop as an individual.
6. Challenge: The motivation to take on difficult tasks and overcome obstacles.
7. Achievement: The satisfaction that comes from accomplishing goals and experiencing success.
8. Enjoyment: The inherent pleasure and enjoyment derived from engaging in an activity.

Identifying Intrinsic Motivators

To keep your team intrinsically motivated, you need to identify and nurture the factors that drive them from within. Here are some key intrinsic motivators:

  1. Autonomy and Empowerment: Provide your team members with a sense of autonomy and independence in their roles. Empower them to make decisions and take ownership of their projects, boosting their sense of responsibility and control.
  2. Mastery and Skill Development: Encourage skill development and continuous learning. When employees see their progress and growth, they feel motivated to further improve their abilities.
  3. Purpose and Meaningful Work: Connect your team members’ tasks to the broader purpose and mission of the company. When employees understand the impact of their work, they feel a stronger sense of purpose and fulfillment.
Benefits of Intrinsic Motivation 1 1
Benefits of Intrinsic Motivation 1 1

Benefits of Intrinsic Motivation

The benefits of intrinsic motivation can lead to several positive outcomes, including:
1. Higher levels of satisfaction: When individuals are intrinsically motivated, they have a deep sense of satisfaction and fulfillment from engaging in an activity. They enjoy the process itself and derive pleasure from the task rather than being solely focused on the end result.
2. Improved performance: Intrinsic motivation has been found to enhance performance in various areas such as education, work, and sports. When individuals are motivated by their personal interest or enjoyment, they tend to invest more effort and energy into the task, leading to better performance outcomes.
3. Increased creativity and problem-solving skills: Intrinsic motivation stimulates creativity as it encourages individuals to explore novel ideas and solutions. When people are internally motivated, they are more likely to think innovatively and find unique approaches to solve problems.

Fostering a Motivating Work Environment

Creating a motivating work environment requires deliberate efforts to empower and inspire your team. Here are some strategies to consider:

  1. Encouraging Open Communication: Maintain open lines of communication, allowing team members to share their ideas and concerns freely. This fosters trust and a sense of psychological safety.
  2. Recognizing and Rewarding Achievements: Acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of your team. Recognizing their efforts boosts morale and encourages continued dedication.
  3. Providing Growth Opportunities: Offer opportunities for professional development and advancement within the organization. Employees are more likely to stay motivated when they see a clear path for career progression.

The Power of Feedback

Feedback is a powerful tool for motivating your team and fostering growth. Here’s how to use it effectively:

  1. Constructive Feedback for Improvement: Provide constructive feedback to help team members improve their skills and performance. Focus on areas for development and offer actionable suggestions.
  2. Positive Reinforcement for Encouragement: Praise and acknowledge the positive contributions of your team members. Positive reinforcement boosts confidence and motivates them to continue excelling.

Building a Supportive Team Culture

A positive and supportive team culture contributes significantly to intrinsic motivation. Consider the following:

  1. Promoting Collaboration and Teamwork: Encourage teamwork and collaboration among your employees. When they feel supported by their colleagues, they are more likely to stay motivated.
  2. Creating a Sense of Belonging: Foster a sense of belonging and inclusivity within the team. Employees who feel like they belong are more engaged and motivated to contribute their best.

Leading by Example

As a leader, your behavior sets the tone for the entire team. Demonstrate intrinsic motivation by:

  1. Displaying Intrinsic Motivation as a Leader: Show passion and dedication for your work. Your enthusiasm will be contagious and inspire your team members.
  2. Inspiring Team Members: Share success stories and personal experiences that highlight the power of intrinsic motivation. These anecdotes can motivate and encourage your team.
Intrinsic Motivation Examples 1 1
Intrinsic Motivation Examples 1 1

Intrinsic Motivation Examples

Some examples of intrinsic motivation include:
1. Pursuing a hobby or personal passion: Engaging in activities like playing a musical instrument, painting, or playing sports simply because one enjoys doing it.
2. Achievement and personal growth: Setting personal goals and working towards them to improve one’s skills and abilities.
3. Curiosity and love for learning: Being driven to acquire knowledge or explore new areas of interest without any external rewards or incentives.

Dealing with Challenges

Motivation can fluctuate, and challenges may arise. Here’s how to overcome them:

  1. Overcoming Motivational Dips: Understand that motivation can vary, and it’s normal for team members to experience dips. Offer support and encouragement during these times.
  2. Addressing Burnout and Stress: Keep an eye out for signs of burnout and stress. Encourage work-life balance and offer resources to manage stress effectively.

Embracing Flexibility

Flexibility is a valuable asset in motivating your team. Consider the following:

  1. Allowing for Work-Life Balance: Support work-life balance by offering flexible working hours or remote work options. This can improve job satisfaction and motivation.
  2. Offering Flexible Work Arrangements: Adapt to individual needs and preferences to create a more accommodating work environment.

What is Extrinsic Motivation?

Extrinsic motivation refers to the drive or stimulus that comes from external sources outside of oneself. It is a form of motivation where an individual acts or behaves in a certain way in order to earn rewards or avoid punishments. These rewards or punishments can be tangible, such as money, prizes, or grades, or intangible, such as praise, recognition, or social approval. Extrinsic motivation often comes from external factors like incentives, pressure from authority figures, or societal expectations. It contrasts with intrinsic motivation, which is driven by internal factors such as personal satisfaction, enjoyment, or a sense of purpose. 

The Extrinsic Reinforcement

Extrinsic reinforcement refers to the use of external rewards or punishments to increase or decrease the likelihood of a particular behavior. It involves providing a stimulus or consequence that is not inherently related to the behavior being reinforced. Examples of extrinsic reinforcement include giving a child a sticker for completing their homework, giving an employee a bonus for meeting their sales target, or receiving a pat on the back for doing well on a test.
Extrinsic reinforcement can be powerful in motivating individuals to engage in a desired behavior. However, it is important to note that extrinsic reinforcement can also have some drawbacks. One potential drawback is that it may undermine intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation refers to engaging in a behavior for the inherent satisfaction or enjoyment it provides. When individuals are continually rewarded for a behavior, they may come to rely on the external reward and lose interest in the behavior itself. Extrinsic reinforcement can also be limited in its effectiveness if the rewards or punishments are not perceived as desirable or meaningful to the individual. For example, a reward that is not valued by the recipient may have little impact on their behavior. Additionally, extrinsic reinforcement may not always be practical or feasible. In some situations, it may be difficult or costly to provide external rewards or punishments consistently. Overall, extrinsic reinforcement can be a useful tool for shaping behavior and motivating individuals in certain situations. However, it is important to consider the potential drawbacks and limitations in order to use it effectively.

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation refers to engaging in an activity or behavior because it is inherently satisfying or fulfilling. It is driven by internal factors, such as personal interest, enjoyment, or a sense of autonomy and mastery. Individuals who are intrinsically motivated are typically self-directed, self-motivated, and find joy in the process of pursuing a task.
Extrinsic motivation, on the other hand, involves engaging in an activity or behavior in order to obtain external rewards or avoid negative consequences. It is driven by external factors, such as incentives, rewards, praise, or punishment. People who are extrinsically motivated are focused on achieving specific outcomes or meeting external expectations.
Both types of motivation play important roles in our lives, and individuals may be motivated by a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Intrinsic motivation is often associated with higher levels of creativity, satisfaction, and persistence, while extrinsic motivation can be effective in driving short-term goals and compliance with external requirements.

Intrinsic Motivation vs Extrinsic Motivation 1 1
Intrinsic Motivation vs Extrinsic Motivation 1 1

Intrinsic Motivation vs Extrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation refers to engaging in an activity or behavior because it is personally rewarding, fulfilling, or enjoyable. Individuals with intrinsic motivation are driven by internal factors such as interest, curiosity, and the desire for personal growth or self-achievement. They find satisfaction in the process of doing the activity itself, rather than relying on external rewards or incentives. Extrinsic motivation, on the other hand, refers to engaging in an activity or behavior to obtain external rewards or avoid punishment. Extrinsic motivation can be driven by factors such as financial rewards, social recognition or approval, grades or academic achievements, and fear of consequences. Individuals with extrinsic motivation are motivated by factors external to the activity itself. While both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations can influence a person’s behavior, intrinsic motivation is generally considered more sustainable and effective in enhancing performance, creativity, and overall well-being. It fosters a sense of autonomy, self-determination, and personal satisfaction. Extrinsic motivation, although it can provide short-term benefits and compliance, may lead to a decreased sense of control, decreased interest, and a reliance on external reinforcement.

Is the Influence Intrinsic Motivation have, better than Extrinsic Motivation?

There is no definitive answer to this question as both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations can be effective and have their own benefits in different situations. It ultimately depends on the individual and the specific context. Intrinsic motivation refers to engaging in an activity because of internal factors such as personal interest, enjoyment, or a sense of fulfillment. This type of motivation is often associated with higher levels of engagement, satisfaction, and creativity. It can be particularly effective in tasks that require creativity, problem-solving, or long-term commitment. Intrinsic motivation is typically more sustainable and can foster a lifelong love for learning or engagement in an activity. On the other hand, extrinsic motivation refers to engaging in an activity to achieve external rewards or avoid punishments. Examples include receiving a monetary bonus for meeting a sales target or studying for a grade rather than genuine interest. Extrinsic motivation can be effective in short-term goals or tasks that have clear external rewards. It can provide a sense of focus and drive in achieving specific outcomes. However, it may not be as sustainable or meaningful in the long run, as the motivation may diminish once the external rewards are no longer present. In many cases, a combination of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation can be beneficial. For example, receiving external rewards can initially stimulate interest and engagement, which can then develop into intrinsic motivation as the individual discovers the personal fulfillment and enjoyment in the activity. It’s important to consider the context, the individual’s preferences and values, and the specific goals to determine which type of motivation is most suitable.


Intrinsic motivation is a potent force that can propel your team to achieve greatness. By understanding what drives your team members from within and fostering a supportive work environment, you can unlock their full potential. Remember to lead by example, provide constructive feedback, and celebrate achievements. Embrace flexibility and prioritize a positive team culture. When individuals feel intrinsically motivated, they become an unstoppable force, driving the success of your organization.


  1. Q: How do I identify what intrinsically motivates my team members?
    • A: Engage in regular one-on-one conversations with your team, ask about their passions and interests, and observe their reactions to various tasks.
  2. Q: What should I do if a team member seems demotivated despite my efforts?
    • A: Offer support and ask if there are specific challenges they are facing. Tailor your approach to address their unique concerns.
  3. Q: Is intrinsic motivation the same for everyone?
    • A: No, intrinsic motivators can vary significantly among individuals. It’s essential to understand each team member’s unique drivers.
  4. Q: How can I encourage teamwork in a competitive environment?
    • A: Highlight the benefits of collaboration and team success. Emphasize that individual success is often intertwined with the success of the entire team.
  5. Q: What role does recognition play in intrinsic motivation?
    • A: Recognition and praise are powerful tools for reinforcing positive behavior and motivating employees to continue performing well.

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