In this talk of Daniel Pink, “The puzzle of Motivation”, he cited the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and its effectiveness in handling and managing businesses. There are many ways motivation. In actuality, people are motivated by both internal and external factors, as there are always mixtures of reasons why they achieve, behave, learn and react. Personality and self-concept often determine whether or not you will be intrinsically or extrinsically motivated.
Let’s first clarify what intrinsic and extrinsic motivation mean.
Intrinsic means internal or inside of yourself. When you are intrinsically motivated, you enjoy an activity, course or skill development solely for the satisfaction of learning and having fun, and you are determined to strive inwardly in order to be competent. There is not external inducement when intrinsic motivation is the key to behavior or outcome.
When you are motivated intrinsically, you have fun and look for skill development and competency, personal accomplishment and excitement.
Like for example in my case: I’ve joined Sacred VA Institute because I am so keen on increasing or upgrading my skills and capabilities as a virtual assistant. (Just to give you an idea, I have 2 nephews and a niece with IT Engineering Course – well I sometimes ask them on topics to teach and guide me, they oblige but they go on “bra-ta- ta-ta- tat, bra-ta- ta-ta- tat” expecting me to catch every bullet being fired at the same time. So I end up telling them ok, I think it’s better for me to turn to “Google” and “Youtube” instead). Let’s go back to SVA, which I think one of the best decisions I made. Why? You can do the lessons at your own pace. You might think I am a bit slow or lazy doing things, Nope! In fact, I am a person who wants to get things done immediately, once I have the instructions and all the materials; I will never stop until I’m done.
The reason is not getting the job but the inner joy that it brings me being able to follow instructions, learn and do things new to me. I may not have done great but somehow I’ll be on my way of doing better if not the best.
Extrinsic means external or outside of yourself. This type of motivation is everywhere and frequently used within society. When people are motivated to behave, achieve, learn or do based on a highly regarded outcome, rather than for the fun, development or learning provided within an experience, they are being extrinsically motivated.
Trophies, medals, money, discounts, grades, entrance to programs or schools, higher commission percentages, new clothes and losing weight are all examples of extrinsic motivators. In childhood, bribery is used, schools use grades, trophies and academic recognition based on good behavior, shops & groceries use discount cards and coupons to save you money while you shop at their store and corporations use bonuses and commission scales to encourage growth and boost sales.
There are ways and methods of motivating employees and is a central point of concern for managers and owners of businesses. Extrinsic motivation is inherently easier for management to provide than intrinsic motivation. The latter form of motivation is a far more complex and internal state of being, involving idiosyncratic levels of satisfaction and accomplishment. While some progressive managers attempt to instill intrinsic motivation in their employees, it is much more common for managers and owners to rely on extrinsic factors such as pay increases and other financial benefits.
Alienation in the workplace is a difficult and common problem that undermines productivity, employee morale and the sense of intrinsic satisfaction. Companies will find it difficult to motivate alienated employees to perform at their highest level. Employees who identify closely with the work that they do take pride in its quality that is independent of how much they earn or how others evaluate their skills. Intrinsic motivation emerges out of identification with the work. When an individual views an activity as an expression of his inner self, he will take care to do it well and take satisfaction in the work.
This does not differ much from a Client and Virtual Assistant scenario. Working from a distant, relying only few briefing and instructions, a VA is left alone to do her job base on her own understanding and judgment. He/She may deliver exactly, more or less than the result you need but she does not have the means knowing without being told or informed.
Managing and motivating Virtual assistants are two different things. Like what Daniel Pink mentioned in the video that Management is for compliance while engagement is better achieved by self-direction. Most virtual assistants prefer to work on tasks at their own time, phase and techniques. That’s what they call autonomy, the urge to direct their own lives. Give them the chance to master their jobs, the desire to get better and better at something that matters. Make them feel that they are serving their purpose, doing what they do in the service for something larger than themselves.
Virtual Assistants have the obligations to deliver the results required of them but the client has contribution in making or turning his/her VA to be the best. Communication is a must and once they both have learned and understood each other, a beautiful and perfect partnership is on the way.