Four Key Ways to Motivate Your Team

Mar 13 2023 | Insights

Making progress and hitting your goals is impossible without a great team behind you – but what is a great team without motivation?

One of the most important things to keep in mind when working within, managing, or leading a team at work is learning how to stay motivated to get the best results. A motivated team is far more likely to get work done, developing a healthier relationship to their work as they do it.

With that in mind, here are our suggestions on ways to motivate your team to do their best work, support your colleagues, and build a healthy working environment for the future.

How does motivation work?

First of all, how do motivation techniques really work?

There are two different types of motivation – extrinsic and intrinsic. One relies on external factors; the other is internalized and more psychological. Both can be incredibly effective but are often used in slightly different ways to motivate your team.

Extrinsic motivation refers to motivation derived from the potential of external rewards or punishments – like the promise of a pay rise, or the threat of losing your job.

Intrinsic motivation refers to the internal, personal desire to produce good work and make progress. This is more connected to a personal sense of satisfaction and a desire to achieve.

Both are motivational, but very different.

Managers might choose to employ extrinsic or intrinsic motivation for different members of a team; they might prefer to use one kind of motivation regardless of their team members; or they might use a little of both – depending on the situation.

The best thing is to try a few techniques and observe the results – if your motivation techniques don’t result in a motivated team, try something different!

Give feedback – and focus on the positives!

You could be forgiven for not knowing that the most important kind of feedback is the positive kind.

Don’t get us wrong, though – considering potential areas for improvement and development is key to effective feedback as well.

However, when you’re trying to foster a sense of team motivation, it is absolutely imperative to give positive feedback and to let your team know where they are doing well. Make sure when you’re giving positive feedback that you express why something is so good and how your team have been contributing valuably to projects. Knowing exactly what they’re doing right is sure to motivate them to keep that energy up.

Recognizing and outwardly appreciating the good work and achievements of your team lets them know that their work is valued. Helping your team feel like their hard work is meaningful and well-appreciated is hugely important when looking to motivate them.

So, take the time to communicate positive feedback to your team, especially when you’re working on major projects. It is a surefire way to motivate them to continue the hard work.

Encourage self-sufficiency

This might seem a little bit counterintuitive at first – but giving your team some room to make their own mistakes, come up with their own problem-solving techniques, and to overcome difficulties is a fantastic motivator.

A manager should not have to do all the thinking for the team – a manager is there to guide, to support, and – of course – to motivate!

Encouraging self-sufficiency and problem-solving is part of this guidance and support, as it is a key way to encourage your team to develop their own managerial and problem-solving skills.

And think about it – what feels better than having a hurdle crop up at work, and being able to find the perfect way to solve your problem without having to ask anybody else? It really is great motivation, as it enables your team to put their own skills to the test, and it feels fantastic to see great results from this.

However, be sure not to confuse self-sufficiency with isolated working. Make sure to have regular catch-up sessions to check in on how your team are getting along and be sure to let them know that you are always available to help them to solve any issues that inevitably arise.

The trick is to strike a balance between encouraging your team to work independently but letting them know that you are there for support and guidance when they need it. This balance, when done correctly, will be highly motivational.

Offer opportunities outside of the comfort zone

As a manager, motivating your team can mean getting a little creative. It is part of your role to identify skillsets that your team may have potential for, that they may not be able to see themselves.

Identifying potential development opportunities, and offering ways to build these skills and grow professionally, is an incredibly valuable way to motivate your team. Not only does it show your confidence in them professionally, but it encourages them to develop and grow in their professional lives.

This might take the form of training opportunities. This could be organized internally or externally, depending on your organization. Giving your team the opportunity to acquire new skills and to gain professional experience that might otherwise be outside of their comfort zone is key – it offers a safe space to grow without fear of failure. This kind of opportunity can be very motivational, as it is directly linked to an increased ability to use newly acquired skills in their work.

This might also take the form of having regular conversations about career progression and personalized goals, making sure to offer internal opportunities to facilitate the achievement of these goals. For example, you have somebody in your team who is eager to climb the internal ladder. A great way to motivate them towards achieving this goal is to offer them an opportunity to informally mentor a new starter, giving them some experience towards a managerial role in the future.

Read more about the benefits of internal hiring.

Offer additional coaching

Having a happy workforce is the first step towards motivating your team towards achieving collective goals. Often however, motivation comes directly from knowing what you need to do in order to hit those goals.

Providing your team with coaching opportunities with EZRA offers them a simple way to understand the skills they need in order to achieve certain goals – whether these be personal, professional, or collective. EZRA coaches are accessible through the EZRA app at times that suit the individual coachee and will cater their program towards the individual they’re working with.

Coaching is a great way to motivate your team – once you, as their manager or leader, have created the collaborative, ambitious spirit within the team, an EZRA coach will be able to work with them closely to help them identify, develop, and use the skills they need in order to achieve their goals.

Not only this, but offering coaching is a clear investment in their professional development – and what could be more motivational than a signal from your team leader that they believe in you?

Read more about EZRA’s coaching offering to find the perfect solution for your organization.

Motivation shouldn’t be as simple as telling your team that they’re doing a great job – it is much more complex and should be individualized based on the people who make up your team. Our suggestions for motivating a team are just the start – focus on positive feedback, setting goals, offering opportunities for development, and offering coaching.

Just remember; motivation should be positive where possible for a satisfied workforce who are naturally driven to achieve and develop.

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