The amount of energy we bring to work each day depends on motivations internal and external. For genetic reasons, some people are given to working harder at their job. But environmental factors explain a majority of our motivation, according to a University of Kansas study, meaning that your enthusiasm is largely determined by the people you work with and the person who directly supervises you.
For the study, researchers examined sets of identical and fraternal twins, looking for differences in how proactive each individual was. Proactivity was defined as making long-term plans, working to achieve them, and overcoming obstacles in the way. Identical twins, who share 100 percent of their genes, also shared more workplace qualities than fraternal twins, suggesting a genetic component, but there remained a substantial variance.
Scientists concluded that forty percent of our motivation to be proactive is derived from our genes and sixty percent is derived from environmental circumstances.
“Employers who wonder why certain employees aren’t stepping up need to take a look in the mirror.”
If you’re a supervisor looking to inspire your team, consider taking some of Dan Ariely’s advice. In his Big Think interview, the Duke University behavioral psychologist explained that salary is not always the best motivator:
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