Self-motivated employees are like the engine of a company. However, as a leader, it is beyond your control to create a self-motivated employee. In fact, the words ‘self –motivated’ describe that a person is intrinsically motivated, not by any external force. So, as a leader, you can only provide a space in the team that fulfills your team members’ core values, personal outcomes, and ambitions.
Studies show that people are most motivated to pursue, and are most satisfied by, the goals that they choose for themselves. When a person is self-motivated, they experience a fulfilling state called ‘flow.’ They express freely and are more creative. Their dedication and perseverance also increases. They perform better.
Research at Cornell University studied 320 small businesses. 50% of the employees were given autonomy whereas the remaining 50% were managed with a top-down approach. The businesses that offered autonomy grew 4 times the rate of control-oriented firms and had one-third the turnover.
Google encourages its employees to spend one day of the week on a side project. In this 20% of their total work time, employees work on projects that they find interesting in an environment they like. In a typical year, more than half of Google’s new offerings are a result of pure autonomy. Gmail, Google News, and other popular services were invented during this 20%.
Here are three ways to encourage autonomy within your team:
In today’s economy where compensation and benefits are easily surpassed by your competition, greater autonomy can become your biggest advantage for retaining talent and sustaining a high performing team.