10 Tips for Motivating your team


In our increasingly demanding and stressful world, team motivation is an on-going challenge for any team leader. Motivation is a complex topic because not everyone is motivated by the same things. A common assumption is that money is the primary motivator of human performance. Whilst money is important to everyone, it is really the perceived freedom and improved lifestyle that money provides which actually motivates people.

Below are 10 practical tips for motivating your team more effectively:

  1. Find out what motivates each individual. Here are some examples of potential individual motivators: money; recognition; clear goals; noble purpose (save the planet); a challenge; incentives; personal growth; competition; fear and curiosity. Have an honest conversation with each team member or group and establish who is motivated by what. This understanding will enable you to create a motivating climate for each team member.
  2. Feed your team good news. The mass media is very effective at dispensing bad news. They tell us every day what is going wrong in our world, country, society and economy. Seek out the good news and share it with your team. You can find plenty of good news in community newspapers, positive blogs and websites such as sagoodnews.co.za and leadsa.co.za. And make it a habit to regularly share the good news about your company achievements with your team.
  3. Catch people doing things right. A big part of every manager’s job is to identify and correct mistakes made by team members or groups. If done correctly and tactfully, this feedback should result in incremental performance improvement. What really motivates many people however, is when they are recognised and praised for doing things right.  Make it a habit to regularly “catch” your people doing things right – it reinforces good behaviour and provides significant motivation.
  4. Create conditions which improve interpersonal communication. Electronic communication has dehumanised our workplaces. Many employees stare into screens for a large part of their day. Even with open plan offices, many people prefer to email one another rather than actually speak.  Formal team meetings are often too long, pretty boring and largely unproductive. I have seen major improvements achieved through the use of regular, short, Japanese style stand up meetings which encourage each team member to share with the team. Google ‘stand up meetings’ or email me for more information on how to use this very motivating and productive interpersonal communication tool.
  5. Make team building a continuous process rather than just an event. Team building is a shared experience which can be a whole lot of fun and provide a large dose of meaningful motivation.  Having conducted hundreds of team building events for clients over the years, it has become obvious to me that the team building event is merely the beginning of a continuous process. Back at the workplace, processes must be put in place to ensure that the momentum is maintained. The team needs to create a set of meaningful team goals and activities, which should include business, personal and interpersonal elements. These goals should also include “softer” elements like having more fun at work, supporting each other and giving back to the less fortunate.
  6. Teach your team Self-Motivation Skills. Today more than ever, people need practical skills to cope with stress, complete multiple tasks, meet challenging deadlines and still retain some sort of balance in their lives. Whether it gets done through live training programs, videos, books, life coaches, personal trainers or alternative lifestyle practitioners – support your team to support themselves.
  7. Encourage a healthy lifestyle. Nutrition fuels the energy for motivation. Today’s fast food eating habits are not ideal for optimum performance and motivation. Teach your team healthy lifestyle habits including nutrition, exercise, rest, relaxation and time for healthy play. Tap into your own network of healthy lifestyle advisors and bring them in to coach your team members. Or ask your team members to bring in some of their practitioners to provide input.  The Google Corporation employs top chefs to prepare healthy, nutritious meals for their staff, as well as personal fitness trainers and massage therapists. Go figure!
  8. Liven up the workspace. Many workspaces are dull, lifeless and drab. Adding some colour, stimulating images or artworks, indoor plants, a variety of soft music and even positive ionising air filters will help to bring the workplace to life. And don’t just do it yourself – make it a team exercise by involving everyone in the project.
  9. Bring some fun back to the workspace. Research has shown that by making work a little more fun, we can achieve a lot more motivation. The introduction of regular, creative activities which stimulate smiles and happy feelings are great for motivation. If you want some stimulating ideas on how to do this, simply google ‘fun at work ideas.’
  10. Keep yourself motivated. Nurture an attitude of gratitude for all that is good in your life and business. Repeat positive affirmations for on-going self-motivation. Read self-help books and literature. Subscribe to motivational newsletters. And share the best of all of these with your team.

I trust that these tips will assist you to maintain a motivated, productive and hugely successful team.