Motivation and Autonomy

Summary: “Be an autonomy-supportive person if you want to help motivate others.” 

One of the simplest ways to create a motivational environment for others is to support their autonomy. Autonomy is about giving people more control over their circumstances. It’s the opposite of making them feel over-controlled and like puppets.

Here are some of the main ways you can support someone’s autonomy. Give them as much control as possible over:

  • What they do
  • How they do it
  • When they do it
  • Where they do it
  • And with whom they do it

Sure, you cannot always give them total control over all these factors, but it is usually easy to find ways to give them some sense of increased autonomy that is also in alignment with what you want to accomplish. Unfortunately, too many bosses and parents seem to go out of their way to attempt to over-control others.

At a minimum, you might first ask others to tell you how they believe they can accomplish an objective. If they come up with a good plan on their own, that’s great. If you need to help them a bit, that’s also fine. In both these cases, they should feel more of a sense of authorship over their plan.

Rather than simply doing what they are told to do, they will feel as if they are doing what they decided to do. In other words, they will feel more autonomous. It’s a great way to help others joyfully participate in life.

Joyfully participate in life today…Chris

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