Most leaders and organizations don’t understand the difference between motivators and incentives. Here are the major differences and when/how to use each.
I remember when I first started a team lead role. I would bring in doughnuts for the team. After slapping them down on the table, I would run to my office thinking I had just given the greatest motivator ever.
I was wrong.
Most of the team hated doughnuts and those that didn’t couldn’t eat them. Not only did my choice of motivator fail, it actually did more harm than good.
I’ve learned a lot in the 20 years since. Besides the gift of understanding when to manage versus lead, I’ve learned the key differences between motivators and incentives.
Incentives and Motivators are Used in Every Relationship
Negotiating happens in every relationship. Whether the relationship is with an employee, team, spouse or child, mastering negotiation and conflict management strategies are essential.
Every relationship also uses incentives and motivators. That sounds odd but think about it. Sometimes you use a motivator and other times you use an incentive to influence your desired end-result.
But are you using them at the right time and for the right reasons?
Understanding the differences between incentives and motivators begins with first understanding the basics of leadership and influence.