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The term motivation is defined as the drive to do something; the enthusiastic determination to achieve a goal.


In the workplace, motivation goes beyond monetary rewards or the opportunity for promotion. Employees that are motivated will go after goals with enthusiasm and an energy that can sometimes be contagious.

Motivational theorists believe there are two sources of motivation:

  • Intrinsic Motivation: fundamentally, all motivation comes from within. The most commonly held concepts of motivation are those of self-motivation, internal motivation, or what is known as intrinsic motivation. All of these terms are used interchangeably to describe the same motivational factors that come from within a person.
  • Extrinsic Motivation: also referred to as external motivation, this term is used to describe external factors that stimulate an individual’s internal motivation. The concept of externally motivating another is not at odds with the theory that motivation comes from within. It is possible to provide others with situations, or an external environment, that is motivating.

Motivation is also one of the five dimensions of emotional intelligence, as described by Daniel Goleman. Leaders that are motivated remain so, even when faced with the possibility of failure. They are also unusually committed to the organizations in which they work. These leaders are seen by others as focused and determined to achieve goals.

Related Terms

emotional intelligence, self-awareness, social skills, empathy, self-regulation