Boosting morale - Daniel's Pink style

As a manager, you may have to run a team or group with low morale. So, what can we do when we lead a team that is not inspired to do its job? An interesting mental model for thinking about what motivates people comes from Daniel Pink's book "Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us." The authors share that the three things that drive people are mastery, purpose, and autonomy.


We are naturally motivated by the challenge of mastering new skills or refining existing ones. We feel a sense of growth when we develop skills. As leaders, we can foster motivation by creating environments that enable individuals to see progress in their abilities over time.

We can directly contribute to the team's mastery by increasing the frequency of feedback, focusing as much or as double on the good feedback as the "to improve" feedback.

We can help team members find mentors who can help them develop their skills and plan for assigning different or progressively more challenging tasks.


Pink contends that purpose-driven work aligns with a more profound sense of meaning and taps into the intrinsic motivation of contributing to a cause larger than individual interests.

As leaders, we can help people understand and make the connection on how what they do daily contributes to the overall company goals. We can also foster this sense of connection and purpose by celebrating small wins or asking colleagues or senior leaders to make it visible when the team does a job that positively impacts the company.

On the other hand, it's important to clarify that it's not the same when they do their job as when they do not. Some managers hesitate to call it out when a team member does not deliver, but it also contributes to knowing that your work matters.


Autonomy does not mean complete independence but the freedom to make choices that influence one's work. Building an environment where team members have the autonomy to determine how they approach and execute their tasks increases engagement and allows them to take ownership of their work.

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Matias Lespiau

Matias Lespiau

Madrid, Spain