How to Motivate Your Employees: 3 Quick but Powerful Steps

 In Coaching, Employees, Leadership Development, Sales

The #1 question that managers ask about leadership is, how do you motivate people?

A brief survey of research suggests that each person is different and a manager needs to consider that when trying to motivate others. The six top motivators are: pride doing a job well, achievement of goals, on-going learning, growth in a career and responsibilities, being part of a winning team, and the personal satisfaction of contributing something of value. Notice what’s not listed? Money is missing, right? Frederick Herzberg’s research concludes that money motivates and de-motivates about the same number of people, if the wages are fair.

Here is key to motivation. Give other people what they want and you will get what you want. A successful manager creates a working environment that gives the team the opportunity to experience the six top motivators described above. Here’s a question to consider, do most managers do that? No. What do they do instead related to motivation? They demand, cajole, bribe, pander, threaten or ignore. Now, consider three powerful actions that will begin to motivate just about any team to improve performance today.

First, hold a 10-15 minute team meeting.
Explain your key goal with excitement. Present that you believe in them and their ability to accomplish the task. Then break your team into two or three groups and ask them to brainstorm how to reach the goal. Give them 5-7 minutes and ask them to take notes. Do this fast and with enthusiasm. Ask each group to report out on their top two ideas and thank them for the input. Summarize what you heard and collect the notes. Announce that your next week’s meeting will be to discuss the points and next step.

Second, tell the team you have an immediate follow-up activity for them.
Distribute a goal sheet that has these four headings:

  • Priorities
  • Strengths
  • Areas to Improve
  • Action Plan

Ask each team member to complete this by the end of the week. Then, explain that anyone of them can meet you in your office during the week for help on this sheet or to share additional ideas or thoughts. All of this should take about 5 minutes to set-up with your team.

Third, follow-up and recognize each person on your team over the next few days for a few minutes each.
Ask if they have questions, ask about their goals, and emphasize a crucial strength they have that will help with the goal. Do this as a stand- up meeting with each person as you check in. This keeps things informal for now. This will take 5-10 minutes during the week, depending on the size of your team.

Notice what you are doing related to the six motivators. You are challenging your team to do better. You appealed to their pride. You asked for their contribution. You have recognized their strengths. You shared a challenge that require them to work together as a team in order to win. And, of course, you followed up. Your employees will be buzzing and wondering what you are doing. They will be curious, maybe anxious and exited. There will be a different tone in your work area almost immediately. You will have begun to give your team what they need to be motivated again.

Consider the three steps above. Try it but don’t shortcut it. For sure follow-through over the next week and beyond. Of course, you will want to continue these kind of strategies and begin to get more in-depth. All people are motivated but not always towards the goals that a manager has in mind. In this scenario, you set the stage for a turned on team in thirty minutes or less. When you change and get better at what you do, you team will perform better. It’s been done time and again with others. It’s called leadership motivation in action.

Do you want to learn more about how to motivate people? If so, I suggest you check out this complimentary article on motivation: What Motivates People?

Or, do you want a proven gameplan for success as a leader? If so, check out Rick’s new book: Superstar Leadership.

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