Those who are familiar with my writing and speaking know that I am not a motivational speaker, I am a teacher of self motivation. I teach people how to motivate themselves. Nevertheless, one question I am frequently asked, and it’s usually asked by an employer, about his employees, is whether you can motivate another person, and, in particular, whether you can use the model for self motivation to motivate another person.
For the longest time my answer was no. You can inspire other people, I would respond. That is what most motivational speakers do, they inspire others to take certain steps or to look at new ways of doing things, or to have more confidence in themselves. These things can all help a person motivate themselves, I would say, but they don’t, by themselves, motivate a person.
The more I study motivation, however, my view is starting to change. I now believe you can motivate another person, but ultimately you can only motivate them to do what they want to do. The key therefore, is to get them to want what you want. If you aren’t able to make the person see the benefit to himself, you won’t motivate him.
The model for self motivation explains this. The model is:
MOTIVATION = ƒ (VISION, SUCCESSABILITY, ENVIRONMENT).
This means that your motivation is related to your vision (that special change you want to make in your life), your successability (your confidence in your competence, that is, your ability to make the change) and your environment, both your physical environment (where you will do the work necessary to make the change) and your social environment (the people and organizations available to you).
The model for self motivation tells us that any positive steps you take to impact your vision, successability or environment will automatically positively impact your self motivation.
So how do you use the model for self motivation to motivate another person? The biggest challenge is the vision, the change the person is to make. A key is the change has to be important to the person who is to be motivated. If it isn’t important to that person, he will not be motivated. This means you will have to present the change in a way that attracts the self interest of the other person. You will often need to be creative to accomplish this. Once you accomplish this, however, the other two factors are much easier.
The actor’s self confidence, their successability, can be positively impacted in the same ways your own self confidence can be impacted. Give the person the tools and the skills that make success achievable. Work with the other person to identify what, if anything, concerns him as he works on the change. Does he need training? Does he need guidance as he works on the task? Identify the needs and meet them.
The third factor, environment, is also something you will often control. Does the actor have a safe, supportive environment to do the task? Is the environment a place that the actor wants to be in, or is it hostile or uncomfortable? Is the worker productive in the environment? Making the environment a place the actor wants to be in, and is productive in, will go a long way toward motivating the person.
Using the model for self motivation as a guide for motivating another person works for anyone who wants to motivate another person to accomplish a goal, whether it’s an employer motivating a worker or a parent motivating a child. It’s a lot more effective than threats.