The first motivational driver is autonomy. Autonomy refers to how much people feel in control of their own life and able to make their own choices. In the context of work, autonomy means people feel they have a say in what they work on and how they work on it. They don’t feel micromanaged; they feel empowered by their managers to pursue objectives and deadlines on their terms.


The second motivational driver is competence. Competence refers to our desires to seek control but also to experience mastery. Competence speaks to our natural human desire to be learners, to be growing and feeling like we’re making progress. It could be progress in our career, progress towards a set of objectives or working for a team or a company that is making progress. Anything that helps individuals feel they are moving toward mastery leverages competence as a motivation.


The third and final motivational driver is relatedness. Relatedness refers to our will to connect with others, interact and care for other people. In terms of research, we’ve only just begun to grasp just how important relatedness to others truly is. But we know that humans are much more motivated to take actions when they’re seen as pro-social — that is, when they’re seen as being able to help other people.


When people have the ability to determine how they work, the means to judge their progress and the feeling that their work helps other people, they can’t help but be motivated to get to work.


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