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  • Writer's pictureErik Thorén

Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation: The Driving Forces in Our Professional Lives

In the realm of personal and professional growth, understanding the interplay between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is crucial. As someone deeply invested in the development of sales teams and leaders, I've seen firsthand how these motivational forces can shape careers and organizational cultures.


Intrinsic Motivation:

This comes from within. It’s about doing something because it is inherently interesting or enjoyable. When we are intrinsically motivated, our drive comes from the pleasure or challenge of the work itself, rather than external factors.


Extrinsic Motivation:

This involves external rewards like money, fame, grades, or praise. It’s about doing something not for the inherent satisfaction but because we expect a reward or want to avoid a punishment.


💡 Balancing Both:

  1. Understanding Individual Needs: People are motivated differently. Some thrive on recognition (extrinsic), while others find greater satisfaction in the challenge of the task itself (intrinsic).

  2. Fostering a Supportive Environment: For leaders, it's important to create a work environment that nurtures both types of motivation. Recognizing achievements (extrinsic) while also providing meaningful work and autonomy (intrinsic) can lead to greater team engagement and productivity.

  3. Personal Reflection: Reflecting on what motivates us personally can lead to a more fulfilling career path. Are you in your role for the challenges it presents, or the rewards it offers? Understanding this can guide your professional development.

Your Thoughts?: I’m curious to hear from my network – how do you balance intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in your professional life? What motivates you the most in your current role?


Let’s discuss and share insights. Understanding what drives us and others can significantly impact our approach to work and leadership.


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