Why some teams boost motivation while others totally sap it — from psyche.co by Ann-Kathrin Torka, Jens Mazei, Joachim Hüffmeieris, and edited by Matt Huston. With thanks to Mr. Tom Barrett for this resource via his weekly newsletter.


In contrast, when people perceive their contribution to the team’s outcome as indispensable, they tend to show greater effort than they would when working alone. These ‘effort gains’ can be due to team members aiming to be prosocial: they care about others and want to make a difference to the team. By helping their team succeed, members also feel better about themselves – they can see themselves as helpful and competent human beings.

Managers, instructors, coaches, and other leaders can use this knowledge to design teamwork that boosts team members’ efforts. Remember the student from the introduction: maybe she felt that she could not contribute much to the academic team because the project did not include a specific (sub-)taskfor her to work on and to feel responsible for. If the instructor or a teammate had broken down the project into subtasks for each member, she might have felt that her efforts were indispensable.