Strategy Statement:

The interviewer wants to know more about your managerial philosophies with regards to motivation strategies and your ability to enable others.

The topic of motivation is hard to cover in simple interview answer and there are hundreds of book written on the subject and motivational theories are the main topic to the study of industrial–organizational psychology. The key things to know is that motivation is said to be intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is a motivation that is driven by an interest or enjoyment in the work, while extrinsic motivation comes from outside of the individual.

Common extrinsic motivations are rewards like money or threat of punishment. Based on the two types of motivators Frederick Herzberg's developed famous two-factor theory which distinguishes between:

- Motivators such as interesting work, recognition and responsibility) which give positive satisfaction

- Hygiene factors such as salary or benefits. Such factors despite common believe do not motivate if present, but, if absent, result in dissatisfaction.

The name Hygiene factors is used because, similar to hygiene, the presence will not make you healthier, but absence will cause health degradation.

While successful managers employ both types of motivations to ensure highest productivity of the team in was proven that significant portion of human behavior is energized and directed by unconscious motives i.e. intrinsically motivated. Professor Steven Reiss performed a serious of studies involving more than 6,000 people which resulted in 16 factors theory - 16 basic desires that guide nearly all human behavior.

The list includes such desires as
Status and others.

"These desires are what drive our everyday actions and make us who we are," Reiss said. "What makes individuals unique is the combination and ranking of these desires. Every person has a unique desire profile."

We recommend reading his book “The 16 Basic Desires That Guide Us” for more information.

Sample interview question response:

My most strong believe is that my team members should be highly motivated to give their best and realize their full potential. As first line manager I cannot control salary and benefits our company provides but I can ensure the work-live balance is in place and work conditions are above industry standards to address extrinsic motivators.

Form the other side; I pay a lot of attention to intrinsic motivators. I take care in assigning tasks, making sure that I have right person for the job. When communicating my expectations to employees, I make sure they understand exactly why they were selected for a job. If I can connect people and tasks based on their background, education, and experience, I can feel confident that they are properly motivated and will give the project their all.

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