How good leaders motivate their teams

Posted in Business and entrepreneurship.

To increase productivity in your workplace you have to manage your workforce effectively. Delegating tasks properly, ensuring your employees are trained for their tasks, and creating a good working environment are all ways to ensure that productivity increases. Relating to the third method – creating a good working environment – ensuring that your workers are motivated can provide many benefits besides just increased productivity.

A good leader is one that understands how to motivate others to do their best. Whether your goal is to increase productivity solely or to create a more positive work environment, these guidelines will help you to do it right.


Your workforce is made up of individuals each with their own backgrounds, personalities, and goals. Therefore, each of them may have their own motivating factors, some being more adept at self-motivation than others. Making an effort to understand your employees can help you tailor your strategies towards them and help them stay motivated.

Try to observe or talk to your employees to understand what drives them, what aspirations they have. People often feel more motivated when they know that what they are doing matters. A leader who tries to get involved with their employees will see more emotional engagement from them. Listen to their suggestions and issues. An employee who feels less like a cog in a machine will want to engage with their tasks more.

Make them feel involved

An employee who feels that their work contributes something is more likely to feel motivated. Try to explain why they are doing the work that they are doing. Discuss the reason why they have been chosen to do a specific task. What sort of skills, knowledge, and experience do they have that contribute to the task? People tend to live up their expectations as seen with the Pygmalion Effect – that your expectations can influence another’s performance – so let them know your expectations and put faith in those expectations. That being said, meeting expectations can only be aspired towards for a while. People tend to dislike stagnation and will want to exceed expectations, their own and others’. If you deem it appropriate, challenge such workers and you may be rewarded.

That being said, do not motivate for the sake of motivation alone. An employee all fired up and working hard won’t do a business any good if their contributions do not line up with the business’ goals. Motivate employees in terms of what they provide to the workplace. Let them identify their goals and capitalise on the ones that bring the most benefits to the work environment.

Step into their shoes

An employee can be motivated by a leader who shows that they care and will engage with them and their work, but they can also be motivated by a leader who shows that they can also do the work. It’s harder to emotionally engage with an employee when they may think that your position blocks you from being able to empathise with them.

A good leader is one that others look up to and trying to emulate a role-model is a good way for employees to be motivated. Your character and behaviour can motivate others. A hard working leader can inspire others to work harder as well.

Treating others the same as you would want to be treated yourself is expected. If you aren’t willing to do something, should you expect workers who would? Why should the employees feel attached to a goal that the leader isn’t seemingly working towards themselves?

Reward them

The easiest way to motivate someone is to offer a reward for their accomplishments. It will drive them to accomplish just as much next time for those rewards. Even if you have a tiny budget, there are responsible ways to reward your workers. Tangible tokens of gratitude such as plaques, gift cards, public recognition, and another engaging project are all relatively inexpensive ways to reward employees for the work they accomplish.

You can use the Expectancy Theory – the relation between effort and outcome – to tailor-craft motivational strategies to use on your employees. This can result in a strong, motivating work environment where higher performance is a standard.

Benefits of a motivated workforce

Besides the obvious increase in productivity and business output that comes with a motivated workforce. There are other benefits that arise from employees who are motivated:

  • Worker retention – Employees who stay in the business have more experience and keep recruitment and training costs low.
  • Improved manager-worker relationship – Employees may be less likely to dispute changes or bring up legal or industrial action.
  • Improved work quality – Employees are more likely to be attached to their work and work to a higher standard.

These few ideas that we have shared will hopefully help you with your efforts to motivate your team. All that remains is for you to put them into practice. It may not all happen overnight, but once your team’s motivation levels start rising and stay high consistently, you can expect your business to flourish.