The question of how to better motivate employees has stumped many leaders. But if you focus on three universal psychological needs, it's not that complicated.
Take autonomy. People need to believe that they have choices and that they're in charge of what they're doing. The way you frame information and situations influences whether someone will feel autonomous. So when discussing goals, don't make them seem like dictates or measures by which to hold someone accountable – frame them as essential for the person's success and an opportunity to fulfill a meaningful goal. And don't apply pressure to perform. Sustained peak performance is a result of people acting because they choose to, not because they feel they have to.
Adapted from “What Maslow’s Hierarchy Won’t Tell You About Motivation” by Susan Fowler.