What Are Your "Energizers" at Work?

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Every job has frustrations – no question about that! But problems become bearable when they are balanced by activities that excite, motivate, or energize us. Mentally put your work on a balance scale, imagining all the frustrations piled up on one side. Now think of the “energizers” that help to offset those aggravations.

Look at the list below. Check the things that motivate you. Are you getting enough of them? Which ones don’t matter to you? Can you find any patterns to the things that turn you on or turn you off?

  • Being given difficult assignments
  • Social activities with co-workers
  • Travel opportunities
  • Occasional lunches with your manager
  • Having time to work alone and concentrate
  • Clear expectations from your manager
  • Having time to plan your work
  • Learning more about the business
  • Receiving an award
  • Talking about work with your manager
  • Serving on committees
  • Not serving on committees
  • Having good work publicly recognized
  • Working jointly on projects with others
  • Being able to work independently
  • Having authority to make decisions
  • Having variety in your work
  • Belonging to work-related organizations
  • Sharing ideas and opinions with management
  • Taking on new assignments
  • Making the workplace attractive and comfortable
  • Having contact with customers
  • Recognition for loyal service
  • Having your manager drop by to chat
  • Recognition for your accomplishments
  • Ability to take time off
  • Opportunities to be creative
  • Going to lunch with co-workers
  • Participating in community service activities
  • Making speeches or presentations
  • Contact with upper management
  • Solving challenging problems
  • Organizing department parties and events
  • Planning a new project
  • Doing research on a subject or project
  • Having clearly-stated goals
  • Helping to train new employees
  • Having close relationships with co-workers
  • Having the freedom to make changes
  • Contact with people from other departments
  • Being given a leadership role
  • Looking for ways to increase efficiency


If the problems in your job are outweighing the motivators, then it’s time for a change. You either need to improve your current situation or find a better one.

Managers: Use this list to think about motivating your employees. The old saying “different strokes for different folks” is very true. Not everyone is turned on by the things that inspire you, so consider which “energizers” might appeal to each person who reports to you. In fact, give them the list and ask them!