Definition of Motivation


Definition of Motivation 


Yes, the definition of motivation is critical, but to help you better understand the meaning of motivation, I will show you three different definitions of extremely related topics, I will show you how they are different among themselves, and I will show you how each one does not necessarily imply any of the other two.

  • Motivation
  • Commitment
  • Engagement

Definition of Motivation

  • Motivation is your internal energy that thrusts your behavior to attain a particular goal
  • Motivation is your interior power that makes you determined to accomplish a task
  • Motivation is your inside force that propels you to do a certain job

No matter what definition of motivation – in essence – motivation is your inner drive to do something.

However, keep in mind that nobody can motivate anybody. In other words, you cannot motivate your employees – you cannot force people to be intrinsically motivated.

Motivation by definition is an inner drive – and you cannot inject, introduce, or infuse this interior willpower into anyone.

Nevertheless, if it is true that you cannot motivate your employees, it is also true that you can create the conditions where your employees will feel motivated.

Definition of Commitment

Commitment is your intellectual or emotional state of being bound to something, it is your internal conviction that binds you to something – this “something” could be an activity that you enjoy, a cause that you believe in, your Department, a leader you admire and respect, your organization, etc.

Commitment is the fuel that drives your loyalty.

You as the manager, you want your employees to be committed to your Department’s Vision (direction), Mission (cause), to you (their boss), and to your organization’s Vision, Mission, and Values (behavior guidelines).


According to the definition of motivation here above, you may have a VERY motivated workforce, but if they are not committed to your organization, they may easily leave your company.

Definition of Engagement

Engagement is a deep emotional, physical, and cognitive connection between what you do and who you are.

  • Emotional is your affection
  • Physical is your energy
  • Cognitive is your focus

Put in different words, engagement is your internal conviction that drives your performance to do whatever it takes to do something right – engagement is your fuel that drives your performance beyond the call of duty (think righteousness)

You as the manager, you want your employees to be engaged in their work – you want them to do whatever it takes to do their jobs to their best of their abilities.

From this perspective, the definition of motivation here above falls short in comparison to this definition of engagement. You not only want motivated employees, but you want them engaged.

Please note again

You may have committed employees to your organization but not engaged to their job—or on the contrary—you may have engaged employees with their work but not committed to you.

To create engagement, you need a 100 per cent alignment between your organization, the team you lead, and your employees.

Final words

Yes, the definition of motivation is critical, but motivation is not enough by itself, commitment is not enough by itself, and engagement is not enough by itself.


You want motivated direct reports that are engaged and committed.

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