Motivating others is the factor which separates average teams from extraordinary ones.

It is a key skill to master and perhaps the most difficult for new leaders. If you are lucky, you will have highly motivated team members. Their attitude will help others to get and stay motivated. Self-motivation is a myth when the leader does not take an active role in motivating the team. Your attitude and actions contribute to your team’s ability to become and stay motivated. Your actions limit or boost your team’s motivation.

Being motivated is not solely the employee’s responsibility.

There is a myth that leaders do not have to motivate their teams and a lack of motivation is the sign of a lackluster employee. Nothing is further from the truth. Leaders are the cheerleaders for their teams. Motivation is not something that most people are able to do for themselves. Doubts, concerns and stress can weigh down the most dedicated employees. A lack of motivation is a strong sign of disengagement. Something is wrong and it needs to be addressed.

What motivates people varies widely.

Some want recognition and others want a quiet pat on the back. People want to be valued, trusted, challenged and make lasting contributions. Acknowledge when certain tasks are non-glamorous and spread them out among your team members.  

Meaningful victories count!

You need victories for your team to gain respect and trust in your judgement. They need victories to stay inspired and motivated. These victories need to be meaningful. Small victories count at the start but they need to get bigger with time.

Never forget the most powerful phrases you can say!

When spoken with sincerity, “I see you are struggling, how can I help?” and other variations build a strong relationship between a leader and a team member. Saying “Please, Thank you, Great job, Let’s work this together.” are more encouraging and motivating than you might expect. Thanking someone for a job well done, for stepping out of their comfort zone and other actions which reinforce your culture is always a smart move.

Image source: Frankie Lopez on Unsplash