Why People Lose Motivation — and What Managers Can Do to Help

People get motivated when they have a means of self-expression and feel safe to experiment in their work

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As humans we want to feel motivated and to find meaning in the things that we do. It’s a part of our biology. In fact, there’s a part of our brains called the seeking system that creates the natural impulses to learn new skills and take on challenging but meaningful tasks. When we follow these urges, we receive a jolt of dopamine, a neurotransmitter linked to motivation and pleasure, which make us want to engage in these activities even more. And, when our seeking systems are activated, we feel more motivated, purposeful, and zestful. We feel more alive. Exploring, experimenting, learning: this is the way we’re supposed to live and work. The problem is, too many workers aren’t able to partake in these activities because the way our organizations are run is preventing them from doing so. To help employees become more motivated, leaders need to work on three areas: making employees feel comfortable about expressing themselves, creating an environment in which experimentation is valued, and helping employees feel a sense of purpose.

Read more at HBR.org

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