Motivation and Leadership: What Drives Effective Leaders?

What drives you? What drains you? Be honest; when is the last time you stopped to consider the answers to those questions?

While the forces of motivation play a significant role in how you approach the world, they are often overlooked. Many leaders get focused on what they’re good at or what they struggle with, but don’t take the time to take a deeper look at why they are drawn to certain things and ambivalent toward – or even repelled by – others.

Of course, if you incorporate a motivational assessment like the Individual Directions Inventory™ in your coaching work, you are already familiar with how valuable such reflections can be. A leader who learns to recognize their motivational patterns is empowered to lead more mindfully, mitigate their biases, and harness their natural energy patterns to avoid burnout. In short, motivation, even on its own, is powerful stuff.

But what about the connection between motivation and the things that are more observable, like a leader’s behavior or effectiveness? Motivation is deeply personal and unique to each individual; there’s no “right” way to be motivated. Leaders with any motivational profile can develop and be effective. But learning more about the relationship between motivation and effectiveness can provide helpful insights when coaching, giving you some potential key areas for exploration and development.

In a new international study of nearly 2,000 leaders, MRG found some unique motivational patterns in the most effective leaders – and in their less effective counterparts.

Read more about those patterns and their implications in our latest research summary:

What Drives Effective Leaders? Aligning Motivation with Leadership Development

(Are you an MRG client? Visit the Knowledge Base to access this article directly, plus hundreds of more articles and resources.)

About the author

Lucy is the Head of Marketing at MRG. She's a passionate people person who talks with her hands even when she's on the phone. She will not rest until everyone on earth has taken their IDI.

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