Courtesy of TCollinsPhoto, Some rights reserved

Jurgen Appelo in his post here pointed me to a great article from the Harvard Business Review: you have to be a subscriber to read it and the interesting concept is in the summary.

Ask workers what makes them unhappy at work, and you’ll hear about an annoying boss, a low salary, an uncomfortable work space, or stupid rules. Managed badly, environmental factors make people miserable, and they can certainly be demotivating. But even if managed brilliantly, they don’t motivate anybody to work much harder or smarter.

People are motivated, instead, by interesting work, challenge, and increasing responsibility. These intrinsic factors answer people’s deep-seated need for growth and achievement.

This article made me think in a different way: demotivation IS NOT lack of motivation.

And I’m not sure at all that challenges or responsibility motivates people. I think they motivate SOME people. For the most I think what motivates more is DOING WHAT THEY LIKE … and unfortunately (for them and for you, as a boss) it might be far from what they do at work.