Self Determination Theory


I used to think it was something you were born with.

But after reading Smarter, Faster, Better by Charles Duhigg I’m convinced motivation is a skill.

A skill that can be learned and honed.

However, motivation can not flourish if you do not believe you have control of your actions.

With a touch of academia you get the term locus of control: how strongly people believe they have control over the situations and experiences that affect their lives.

Taking this a step further, psychologists Richard Ryan and Edward Deci researched motivation and found that internal motivation was more positive and long lasting than external motivation.

How do you foster internal motivation?

Autonomy – Behavior that is self endorsed, that you agree with and find congruent with yourself.

Competence – Ability to do something successfully.

Relatedness – Feeling cared for, connected, and a sense of belonging with others. Cultivated by not just receiving but also by giving.

You may recall the study by Google “Project Aristotle” where they studied the core elements of their most successful teams. Autonomy, competence, and relatedness are fostered but they take it a step further with creating an environment of psychological safety.

Teammates trust each other, honest discussion can occur without fear of retribution, each member has roughly an equal voices. And teammates show they are sensitive to one another’s emotional needs.

Let’s create team environments where internal motivation and psychological safety are fostered .

Photo by Vincent Ledvina on Unsplash.

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