People who appear to be unmotivated might be lacking confidence, not knowledge.
That’s the premise of two psychologists in a new paper recently published in the MIT Sloan Management Review. According to Lauren Eskreis-Winkler, a Wharton psychologist who studies motivation, and Ayelet Fishbach, a professor of behavioral science at University of Chicago Booth, the key to motivation is actually giving advice, not receiving it.
In their experiments documented in the study, giving someone else advice on topics the participants themselves struggled with made most feel more motivated to tackle their own related challenges. Often, we already have the knowledge needed to complete a task, according to the authors, but it doesn’t translate into action.
Whether you need to motivate agents, clients, or yourself, focusing on the confidence gained from giving advice can be a useful tactic to turn knowledge into action.