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MOTIVATION SERIES: Introjected Motivation

Yesterday, CPR LLC introduced the concept of intrinsic motivation. Today, we will explore the motivation element driven by perceived fear: Introjected motivation, not to be confused with introverted. According to Wikipedia, introjection is a psychological term that depicts "the unconscious adoption of the thoughts or personality traits. It occurs as a normal part of development, such as a child taking on parental values and attitudes. It can also be a defense mechanism in situations that arouse anxiety." Now that we have an initial introduction to the term introjection, in Organizational Management, the term Introjected motivation is driven by an internalized pressure point that causes an individual to respond due to perceived obligation. Much like intrinsic motivation, introjected motivation is also an internal driving force. However, the drive is grounded in guilt, tension, obligation, fear, or remorse. An employee who is driven by guilt, tension, obligation, fear, or remorse should give you pause as a leader, whether in the classroom or boardroom. An individual opting to operate with introjected motivation is likely a liability within your organization. The operative word in the prior sentence is opting. Why does CPR LLC contend that an introjection within an organization is a liability? You see, a business-led by negative emotions cannot be sustained. An excellent example of introjection motivation maintained by Psychology Answers is a boy hearing from his parents growing up, “boys don't cry.” From this planted seed of boys, "don't cry," this young man, now your employee, might be motivated after he aggressively defends his idea, may have a change of heart only after his colleagues reprimand him. Yikes! Let's explore.

Introjected motivation is identified as introjected approach and introjected avoidance. According to Triola (2021), while introjected approach boosts one's self-worth with work performance, the introjected avoidance suggests the employee performs to avoid adverse outcomes or feedback. CPR LLC equates introjected motivation to cooking with love. When a meal is not prepared out of love, the difference in taste is as night and day. Similarly, an employee operating out of debt or avoidance cannot produce quality and creative output. Of the two, introjected avoidance is the more egregious. Left unattended, Introjected avoidance may more likely evolve into manipulative behavior, passive-aggressive attitudes, or bullying when internalized. Scholars Assor & Vansteenkiste (2009) concluded that Introjected avoidance motivation is considered undesirable because the focus is on avoidance, which reduces individual autonomy. Without conducting a deep dive into the world of Psychology, CPR LLC recommends the following techniques if such behavior is observed amongst your team members. Recommendations include the below if you desire to keep the employee:

  1. The most important advice is to meet with your employee to further scrutinize their behavior and responses. Do not attack the employee if this person may be in a low season.

  2. Ask questions about their childhood and how they were raised. Make it personal, and be sure to share your story. CPR LLC is not suggesting you become a psychiatrist overnight but to listen with your heart and head. Be empathetic throughout this process.

  3. Continue to monitor performance, output, idea contribution, and how the individual responds to other team members and your feedback.

  4. Reminder, business is about attitude and aptitude, positive attitude that is.

  5. If a pattern of behavior is established, you must make some difficult decisions with adherence to your HR policies and Labor Laws.

Ultimately, managing your business also signifies managing emotions. Understanding what drives an individual is essential from a strategic and business sense. The twenty-first-century business climate does not require perfection; it does require a healthy work environment for creativity to flourish. Do you agree with the fifth recommendation? Leave your thoughts in the comment section.

Based on CPR LLC's April 2022 Tid Bit, you and your employees have the key to unlocking your challenges. Tomorrow we will explore the next leg of motivation, Identified motivation. For coaching, please send us an email or contact us at 347-674-4878.

Warm Regards,


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