How to motivate a team

How to Motivate Your Team

Motivating a whole team of people to work towards a mutual goal is a process that requires time and experience. Luckily, we’ve broken down team motivation for you, so all you have to do is act.

Being a good leader requires many different skills and one of them is knowing how to motivate a team. Even if you have brilliant ideas, it’s important to be able to communicate them in such a way that inspires other people.

Let’s take a look at what you should and shouldn’t do to have a functioning, inspired and happy team that works together towards a mutual end result. And also how to take a personal approach to each one of the team members.


Table of Contents

  1. Types of Motivation
    1. Intrinsic Motivation
    2. Extrinsic Motivation
  2. How to Motivate Your Team
    1. Start Communicating with Your Team on a Regular Basis
    2. Communicate Your Long-Term Vision Clearly
    3. Empower Your Employees
    4. Encourage Experimentation, Testing and Creativity in Your Employees
    5. Help Your Employees Grow and Develop Their Skills
    6. Invest in a Pleasant Work Environment
    7. Promote Teamwork in Your Organization
  3. Unfortunate Ways to Demotivate a Team
  4. Get Better at Leadership


Types of Motivation

In its most bare basic form, motivation can be separated into two different categories – intrinsic and extrinsic, and most people can experience both.

There is no “better” type of motivation and both of them have their place in a work environment. The only way to know what motivates a team member is to observe them how they react when you assign them a task, or simply directly ask them.


Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic (internal) motivation is the type of drive that comes from within an individual. These people are motivated by their own achievements and success. Intrinsic motivators can be things like the high quality of work they’re doing or the feeling of accomplishment.


Extrinsic Motivation

Extrinsically (externally) motivated people are inspired by different factors like pay raises, bonuses and even some negative factors such as the fear of losing their job.


How to Motivate Your Team

Motivation is defined as the willingness to do something. But, how do you motivate a whole team to work towards a goal and keep them driven every day? Let’s take a look at some proven tactics.


Start Communicating with Your Team on a Regular Basis

Making time to communicate with your team members will help you bond with them and make your business interactions a breeze. It is one of the first steps for you to understand your team members and for them to feel comfortable around you.

And, of course, it’s not necessary to hold business-related conversations only. Team buildings, game nights, weekly meetings and even one-on-one meetings are some examples of how you can create a personal connection. Spend time with your team members every week and get feedback on the projects they’re working on.

Sometimes issues outside work can affect people’s professional lives. That’s where one-on-one meetings with each team member can help. When you’re aware of these problems you can understand why someone might be underperforming, delegate tasks more efficiently, and offer help for dealing with these problems, Even if this means giving them some time off work.


Communicate Your Long-Term Vision Clearly

When you’re a leader, it’s a must to have a long-term vision for where you want to take the company and how you want to grow the business. While it is oftentimes vague and nothing more than an idea to strive for, especially in the beginning, they’re an essential part of keeping your team motivated and inspired.

That’s why it’s important to clearly communicate your vision for the future. How you want things to develop, where you want to be and how you can get there. Of course, with time and experience, and even some factors that you can’t control, your vision will develop and go through changes. However, sharing your vision with your team members is a must if you want to work with motivated individuals.

Related: How to Improve Business Communication


Empower Your Employees

All great leaders have learned one thing – they can’t do it all by themselves. Yes, it’s hard to trust someone, especially if you don’t know them yet, but a successful team is one that has people with entrepreneurial inclinations, rather than employees who can’t manage their own tasks and make decisions when you’re not around.

Empowering your employees to make decisions, deal with problems and handle their tasks the way they see fit, means that you’re creating leaders in your team.

Letting your team members come up with ideas by themselves and letting them execute those ideas by themselves is an amazing way to create experienced professionals who can help you reach your end goals as a team.


Encourage Experimentation, Testing and Creativity in Your Employees

Every success story has a history of failures. As much as making mistakes can hurt productivity, it is an indispensable part of progress. That’s why it’s important to encourage your team to test and experiment in their work. Letting the creativity flow is a sure way to motivate and inspire your whole team.

Instead of punishing failure, reward success. Be sure your employees learned from the mistakes and how they can prevent them the next time. Success takes a lot of tries and many different approaches before your team finds the correct path.


Help Your Employees Grow and Develop Their Skills

One of the most motivating things a leader can do for their team is to help them develop themselves as professionals in their fields.

While this often may mean that you have to pay them a higher salary, it also means that you’re creating a capable workforce, which can play a huge role when it comes to expanding your team, hiring and training new people.

Continuously learning new things gives a different perspective when it comes to solving a problem, or creating a strategy for achieving that next goal. Learning is a vital part of success, and good leaders know that. Make sure you’re doing your best to provide your team with up to date information and actively seek ways to help them improve and develop their skills.


Invest in a Pleasant Work Environment

As employees spend a minimum of eight hours per day at work, making the work environment pleasant will make your team feel better at work. You can make a survey to find out what your employees enjoy, what they think is missing in the workplace and overall give their own opinion and ideas on what can be improved.

A good work environment can be defined by nice-looking office space, but also by good communication between colleagues and keeping the surroundings as stress-free as possible.


Promote Teamwork in Your Organization

Teamwork is a common method to create a strong bond in your team and increase productivity. Every successful company promotes teamwork because they understand how vital it is for success.

This can be the perfect opportunity to create something that is worthy for the company and at the same time bond your team members. This experience can help them in future projects.

In turn, you as the leader, are responsible to provide any support needed for the team to accomplish the project.

But keep in mind that not everyone in the enjoys working on group projects. There are always people that put more work than others and usually know that. This is something that you as a leader should be aware of and delegate tasks accordingly, as you may end up demotivating your most hardworking employees unintentionally.


Unfortunate Ways to Demotivate a Team

Sometimes even if you have the best intentions, certain actions you take (or don’t take) can be demotivating for your team.

That’s why you have to connect with your team on a personal level, so you can understand what truly motivates your team and so you can act accordingly.

One of the biggest problems leaders make is not giving clear end goals on tasks, projects and even clear targets to their team members. No one is motivated by working blindly without a clear end goal

Another way you’re crushing your team’s motivation is by giving a fake sense of urgency. While you may see a productivity increase in the beginning, this isn’t an effective long-term strategy.

Instead, consider if something is truly urgent, or if it just looks like it is. Then pass down the information or tasks to your team members.


“Urgency wrecks productivity.”


Get better at Leadership

In order to be a good leader, you should be an always evolving individual. Team members change, managing strategies changes, and most importantly the world around you evolves.

To keep your team motivated and always hungry for success you should be putting as much time in learning about leadership and motivation, as you’re putting in leading and motivating. Check out our other articles about leadership, motivation and running a business to stay on top of your game.




About the Authors

Created by Gratsiela Borisova, project manager of the Fantastic Services franchise sites in Australia and the UK, and Evgeni Asenov, blog strategist for Fantastic Services Australia. Both of them produce business-related content and share the ins and outs of starting and running a business in Australia.

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