Compare yourself with the Top 20 Characteristics of a Best Boss.  #4 - a Best Boss Motivates Others.

This series is about the Top 20 Characteristics that describe a “Best Boss”.  

You can follow the links below in case you missed any of the previous editions where we described how a “Best Boss”:

#1 -- Is a Good Communicator

#2 -- Holds Himself and Others Accountable for Results

#3 -- Enables Success.

Let’s look closer at #4 -- A “Best Boss” Motivates Others.

Two Types of Motivation

Best Bosses understand that there are two types of motivation and they use both types to motivate their employees. 

Extrinsic Motivation

Extrinsic Motivation includes all factors external to the person that impact performance, such as:

We all need extrinsic motivation in our lives.  If you don’t believe that then ask yourself if you would continue to work at your current job if you weren’t getting paid, or if you would file and pay your taxes if it were not compulsory (with legal consequences) to do so.

Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic Motivation is from within and is sometimes referred to as “achievement motivation” or “self-motivation”.  This is the desire to succeed simply because you value succeeding.  We often describe intrinsically motivated people as having a great deal of “personal pride” or as having a “competitive spirit.”

Motivation and Self-esteem

The workplace is not a rehabilitation center and the boss is not a therapist, but Best Bosses understand how critical the development of self-esteem is to their primary objective of getting results through the efforts of their employees.  People have different levels of intrinsic motivation and it is highly related to the person’s self-esteem.

High Self-esteem

People with high levels of intrinsic motivation tend to have high self-esteem and are much more willing to take initiative.  They are willing to “risk success” rather than “avoid failure”

Low Self-esteem

People with low intrinsic motivation tend to have lower self-esteem and are less willing to show initiative.  They are more likely to “avoid failure” rather than “risk success”.

Leverage Extrinsic Motivation 

to Generate Intrinsic Motivation

Best Bosses understand the relationship between the use of extrinsic motivation and the development of self-esteem.  Remember from our April newsletter that self-esteem (confidence) results from “meaningful accomplishment” followed by “recognition from a significant person”.

Best Bosses use extrinsic factors such as praise and money (pay raise for example) to recognize success which acts to increase self-esteem.  They also understand that they are significant to their employees and, as such, their recognition and praise are crucial in the maintenance and building of self-esteem and thus intrinsic motivation.  

4 Keys to 

Motivating Like a Best Boss

   1.) Build the type of relationships with employees that allow you to understand what motivates at the individual level rather than trying to motivate based on hasty generalizations like which generation the person was born into. 

   2.) Learn to judge the self-esteem level of each employee.

   3.) Engineer meaningful opportunities for successful accomplishment followed by positive feedback for success.

   4.) At all costs, strive to protect self-esteem when giving negative feedback of any kind. 

Best Boss Bottom Line

Best Bosses understand that communicating with each employee is crucial to knowing their aspirations, their likes and dislikes, their views of the various types of extrinsic motivators, and how they value various aspects of their jobs.  This information can then be used to create meaningful opportunities for success and guide the types of recognition used to build self-esteem and thus intrinsic motivation.

Question:  In my work, the customer is on the job site a lot and sometimes doesn’t follow safety rules.  Should I talk with him about this in front of my employees?  It would set a good example for the guys and get him to understand we all want safety.

SafetyCompass®:  The key to the answer to this question centers around respect and reducing defensiveness.  By addressing the issue with the customer in front of your employees, you are putting the customer in the position of needing to “save face”.  

When a person becomes defensive, it is because he thinks that you mean to harm his dignity (lack of respect), reputation, or both.  

Probably the best approach is to send your employees back to work with instructions to proceed safely and then apply your “Ask” skills in a private conversation with your customer to determine why he is not following safety rules.  Once you know why, you will be able to work with the customer to “Find a Fix” that will help create an environment of safety for everyone.






At the root of most business successes and failures - both large and small - is human performance.

For 25+ years, hundreds of companies around the world have turned to The RAD Group to identify, resolve and capitalize on critical human factors in their organizations.



May 15-18
Region 6 VPPP Conference
(Ft. Worth, TX)

Michael Allen presents 
Skills for Re-directing Unsafe Behavior


Mike Allen presents 

Bulletproof Employees
How to Remove the Kevlar


Best Boss skills - 
#5 - 
Cares about the
Success of Others


#6 - Honest and Trustworthy




Click HERE to submit questions for SafetyCompass® Corner

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