Leading For Results With The Mechanics Of Motivation

Rowan Blair Colver
4 min readApr 19, 2021


Lucid Leadership by Rowan B Colver

The Illusive Motivation

Motivation is difficult to find. We either want to do something or we don’t. Often we can know all the reasons why we should do something and yet there is a deeper reason, that can’t be rationalised, why we do not. Other times, we don’t need any motivation. There are things we do because we want to. Clearly, finding the right people means getting the ones who want to be there. However, there are nuances to wanting to be involved and getting the job done properly. It is in this difference that our main difficulties can arise. How do we motivate people, including ourselves, to be the best version?

People Resist Change

When we are fighting our own unexplainable desire to not change, asking for change can be an uphill battle. Like swimming against the river, we can become tired and distracted. Knowing this, we often defensively react to requirements that are beyond our normal routine. Making room for a new manner of action in an already tight and stressful schedule can be extra work that we feel we don’t need. The mentality behind the need is the key to motivation. We have to actualise the intellectual realisation.

The dynamics of change broadly look like this:

The problem arises — Personal distress — Applied resolution — Personal de-stress — Problem solved.

Useful reading: The Dynamics of Change: Insights into Organisational Transition from the Natural World

The key factor in the flowchart is the element of the personal. If we don’t notice or care about the problem, we don’t try to fix it. It’s our relief from the issue that we work towards gaining. This means that we have to make the issues involved personal with those involved. Bring the problem to the people and make it part of their agenda. Explain the downsides to the problem and the upsides of the resolution. Persistent effort and pushing for results is how we make something personal.

Theory Of Motivation In Psychology

There are several theories of motivation that describe psychology. These are useful in identifying the manner in which to communicate the desire for change. Depending on how an individual perceives the situation, we can choose to apply one or more lenses to the rhetoric of our communication. In order to achieve glad compliance from ourselves or from others, we have to find an emotional reason that’s backed up by facts. When we see a situation from the correct emotional background that puts the best outcome as a priority, the problems and issues become clear.

The Maslow Theory puts human needs into a triangle of priority. The base of the triangle is everything essential for life. The top is everything to do with self-betterment and expansion of character. The middle is based on creature comforts and community. It is supposed that we apply ourselves to the base before the middle and the middle before the top. This means that there are more people in the world who are sustaining their base and a limited number sustaining their top. When considering markets, it’s a good way to visualise customer numbers. When putting problems in terms that motivate, try to put their reasoning as far down as they can go.

Problems With Maslow

This isn’t always appropriate, however, with people finding use in the middle and the top of the triangle when they have very little to call home. Clearly, we are capable of applying ourselves to communities and self-betterment without our basic needs met. There are other ways to look at motivation. Herzberg’s Motivational Hygiene Theory breaks motivation down into two parts. True motivation is the actual desire to do something for one’s own gain and the benefit of others. Finding the right reasons alone can become enough to motivate a person. The Hygiene element is the reward that can become a motivator. Someone’s pay, for example, is enough to motivate them to work on things with no relevance to their own life. The benefits of change can be distributed across entire spectra of human circumstances. Finding a wide enough fan of reach is essential for motivation when the results do not directly or immediately benefit a person.

Tailor Motivation To The Individual

We need to determine for ourselves the kind of person we are dealing with. Look at yourself from another’s eyes, look at your friends or your children, your colleagues, through the eyes of someone uninvolved. When we can detach from a personal connection with ourselves or someone we know, we can make realistic judgements about behaviour that ultimately motivate improvement.

Want to learn more in-depth? Here’s your next course -Management, Motivation and Communication in Business



Rowan Blair Colver

Music writer and humanities educator from Sheffield in England. Democracy of philosophy, comments are welcome. ko-fi.com/rowanblaircolver