Two students sitting in front of the Student Center
Leadership News

What’s My Motivation?

Posted in: Leadership, Motivation

One girl staring out to the NYC skyline

Susan Komives’ Leadership Identity Development model alludes to five types of motivations. In other words, 5 basic reasons why leaders (and followers!) do the things they do. As a leader, understanding what drives your followers to succeed is imperative in pushing them towards their potential, and in encouraging them to reach their goals, and propel the group forward. But keep in mind that a person’s motivation is likely to change from goal to goal, or even day to day, influenced by everything from the task itself to environmental factors to a bad mood.

  1. Intrinsic Process Motivation: People who find themselves in this motivation category are doing what they do for the fun of it. This motivation draws on the old belief that the journey matters more than the destination. If you are driven by Intrinsic Process Motivation, you do the work because you enjoy the work, and you feel satisfactorily accomplished as you go along.
  2. Instrumental Motivation: Those who are instrumentally motivated keep their eyes on the prize. They put in the effort in order to obtain a specific reward, concrete goals, or a tangible outcome. Students in this category are going to college because their dream jobs need them to have a specific level and subject degree. If you are driven by Instrumental Motivation, you do the work for the payout, and if the offer isn’t good enough, the job isn’t worth your time.
  3. External Self-Concept Based Motivation: A person’s self-concept is a culmination of everything that person believes they are, and how they think of their own identity. People who are ESCB motivated do things to prove to other people that they can. An ESCB motivated student will work hard to get straight As because they want to impress Mom and Dad with their intellect. If you’re driven by External Self-Concept Based Motivation, you do the work to live up to everyone’s expectations/ideas of you, and to confirm their beliefs in what you are capable of.
  4. Internal Self-Concept Based Motivation: Much like ESCB motivation, ISCB motivation draws on your desire to prove yourself and to live up to expectations…but this time, it’s YOUR expectations. Being driven by ISCB motivation means doing things to affirm your beliefs of yourself, and of what you think you know to be true about yourself. ISCB Motivation is the best motivation for self-improvement, because if you don’t live up to your own expectations, you keep pushing yourself until you do, and often push yourself further. If you are driven by Internal Self-Concept Based Motivation, you do the work because you know you’re capable of 10/10, and you won’t stop until you do it.
  5. Goal Internalization Motivation: People who are Goal Internalization motivated put ideologies into action. They do what they do because they identify as an individual member of a larger group, and their actions match the values of the group. They believe that their actions will bring the whole group on step closer to accomplishing their goals. Many volunteers and social activists are Goal Internalization motivated within their group. If you are driven by Goal Internalization Motivation, you do the work for the cause of the greater good.