Culture and Motivation Go Hand in Hand

You have probably asked yourself, “How do people become motivated to perform at peak levels over a sustained period of time?” Perhaps you found yourself coming up with incentive programs that reward based on money, vacations, or perhaps merchandise in an effort to motivate your employees.

The reality is, motivation comes from within each of us is not generated by picnics or T-shirts. As a leader, do not seek to motivate your employees; rather, focus on building a culture of trust where individuals make the choice to become motivated.

How can a leader help people to achieve higher levels of motivation? The job of a good leader is to help others find the best way to keep motivated, based on their own motivational styles and outlooks.

Leaders also have the responsibility to create an environment that inspires and encourages employees so that they can feel their personal motivational processes are supported and valued.

Leaders can help create positive morale and motivation within their team, and within each individual employee simply by creating a corporate culture of trust and affection. By doing so, it will help employees become more internally motivated because they will:

  •  Feel like a part of a winning team that respects and values all members for what they have to offer. This helps employees feel both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards when they are doing their best work.
  • Appreciate their co-workers and seek ways to help them physically and emotionally.
  • Understand the goals of the organization better and commit to help as much as they can in order to achieve the goals individually and as a team.
  • Enjoy the social interactions with people they work with and respect them as co-workers as well as friends.
  • Deeply respect their leaders and want them to be successful.
  • Feel like they are part owners of the company and hold themselves accountable.
  • Feel appreciated and recognized for their many contributions; this helps to increase self-esteem and confidence levels.

These advantages help generate a culture of respect and trust.

Creating this kind of culture

What is “culture” in an organization? Webster defines culture as the social structure and intellectual and artistic manifestations that characterize a society. For an organization, “culture” means how people interact, what they believe, and how they create success.

If you could peel off the roof of a company, you would see the manifestations of the culture in the physical world. The actual culture is more esoteric because it resides in the hearts and minds of the corporate society, in addition to observable behaviors.

Achieving a state where all people are fully engaged is a large undertaking. It requires tremendous focus and leadership. It cannot be something you do on Tuesday afternoons or when you have special meetings. You need to see evidence of this in every nook and cranny of the organization.

It is important for leaders to avoid trying to “motivate” workers. Motivation is not a magic pill that can be purchased with pizza parties or dress down days. Instead, leaders should focus on creating the environment where workers choose to motivate themselves.

The preceding information was adapted from the book The TRUST Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals, by Robert Whipple. It is available on

Robert Whipple is also the author of Leading with Trust is like Sailing Downwind and, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online. Bob consults and speaks on these and other leadership topics. He is CEO of Leadergrow Inc. a company dedicated to growing leaders. Contact Bob at or

3 Responses to Culture and Motivation Go Hand in Hand

  1. Reblogged this on Gr8fullsoul.

  2. A person will not trust someone they do not know. A person will not work, build a relationship, date or marry someone they do not trust. A person should not work, build a relationship, date or marry when there is a lack of trust.
    I have spent the last twenty years studying the idea of culture and motivation. Recently I have been asked why are my team members motivated to follow the plans we feel make us successful in the marketplace. Not because we are a great company, have a great eLearning website, never make bad judgments, pay more than our competitors and have such engaging leadership. By the way, we do have all of these things in place.
    The answer is very very simple. My team is motivated to follow the actions I feel make us successful for one reason and one reason only. They trust me! They trust me because they know me and I know them. My team members ultimately want to please me and do those activities that I value most in our organization.

    • trustambassador says:

      Excellent Timothy. I wish there were more leaders like you. My own background had a similar story, except I cannot say we never made a bad judgment. Sometimes we did, but we learned from our mistakes and got better.

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