Motivation is one of those mysterious and elusive things, guiding human behavior on all levels. Today, it’s one of the most essential behavioral traits that a good employee can have, because it not only affects the success of a company, but it affects the atmosphere at the workplace. In the early part of the 20th century, when psychology was becoming a scientific field considered worthy of study and attention, some of the great theories of motivation were set down on paper. Maslow and Skinner, in particular, had very thorough ideas on motivation, based on their own practices and observations of human behavior. These theories are still very applicable today, and can help people understand how business employees get motivated.
In terms of Skinner‘s notions, the spectrum of human behavior could be seen in light of reward and punishment. Doing something that has a negative reaction will curb the behavior for doing the action. If an action has positive results, then this behavior is likely to be repeated. Although there are few business models that base themselves on this system, there are some elemental truths here, where employees respond to rewards, and these could be anything from verbal praise, to a raise or a promotion. The motivation here, then, would be in seeking the reward, and doing the actions necessary to get there.
However, when it comes to business training, and organizational procedures in general, it seems as though Maslow’s theories are much more useful, and can also be effective. Based on the hierarchy of needs, people are motivated by a multiple complex of issues. It begins with satisfying the basic need for food and shelter, and at the peak, there is a need to actualize the self. In business, self-actualization is actually a very high motivator. People tend to stay in work that’s interesting, because it is engaging in itself, and it also helps them to move forward in their own journey of discovery.
Understanding these key elements of human behavior can help the flow at a workplace, motivating people to do interesting work, and investing in the moment for all of its possibilities.