Defining Motivation

Many people incorrectly view motivation as a personal trait—that is, some people have it, and others don't. But motivation is defined as the force that causes an individual to behave in a specific way. Simply put, a highly motivated person works hard at a job; an unmotivated person does not.

Managers often have difficulty motivating employees. But motivation is really an internal process. It's the result of the interaction of a person's needs, his or her ability to make choices about how to meet those needs, and the environment created by management that allows these needs to be met and the choices to be made. Motivation is not something that a manager can “do” to a person.