Raising the bar on performance sparks motivation and engagement

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Leadership is constantly challenged by the problem of how to motivate and engage high performance. It turns out that raising the bar or turning up the heat is the best way increase both motivation and engagement.

We know from tons of research that extrinsic rewards like money, recognition, fame, and the like do very little to truly motivate employees to perform at their optimum level. Rather, leaders can encourage intrinsic motivation by creating an environment that fosters challenging experiences.

Ideally, to encourage an optimal experience in which people are engaged, leaders must provide optimal challenges and support employee competence with proper training. When you do, your employees will experience a high, positive effect that will raise the efficacy and value of their work.

Here′s all you have to do:

  1. Balance levels of challenge and skill
  2. Provide immediate, constructive feedback
  3. Encourage employees to persist
  4. Encourage cooperation rather than competition
  5. Support employee autonomy
  6. Ensure that new challenges are tempered with support to match employees′ skills
  7. Emphasize the importance of the work
  8. Press employees to understand the alignment of tasks to organizational strategy and goals


Are you up to it?

Great leadership is about constantly raising the bar. Flow theory contends that, not only do activities with high challenge matched with high skill offer the best opportunities for learning, but they also provide an optimal environment for positive results through intrinsic motivation.

Activities that challenge employees but are still within their ability to accomplish set the stage for optimal emotional and motivational experiences as well as optimal performance.

Within the context of balanced challenge and skill, leaders can improve the chances of positive experiences by supporting autonomy, providing immediate and constructive feedback, encouraging cooperation among peers, supporting positive results, and pressing for progress and contribution rather than rote work.

Are you an intimate leader who knows how to balance challenging assignments to the skill level of each employee? Do you know how to provide constructive feedback? Are you skilled at fostering a cooperative environment amongst your team?

Find out by taking this quick Free Mini Leadership Attraction Profile. We’ll get back to you for a free, no-hassle discussion of your results.

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Helanie Scott
Helanie Scott
Helanie (pronounced yeh-LAH-nee) Scott, CEO and founder of Align4Profit in Dallas, Texas, has driven stunning leadership and cultural transformations for an impressive list of organizations. She has mastered the ability to connect with her audiences in the boardroom, classroom, on stage, or in one-on-one coaching sessions. Helanie’s Align4Profit clients rave at the way her engaging programs freshen outdated mindsets and deliver results-oriented, aligned action.