leader in front of crowd with hands raised

Motivation is essential for any team. It is the driving force that transforms ordinary tasks into extraordinary achievements, propelling individuals and teams towards success with determination and a shared sense of purpose.

Without motivation, team members become disengaged and ambivalent. Widespread employee disengagement is on the rise, and in a recent industry report, the ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees is 1.8 to 1, the lowest in almost a decade. Current data shows that only 1 in 5 team members strongly agree that performance management is conducted in a way that motivates them to produce high-quality work. Organizations can’t afford to overlook the value of effective motivation.

The intrinsic drive that motivation fosters is critical to fueling purpose and achieving desired outcomes that ultimately impact the bottom line. You can actively invest in your workforce members by leveraging this guide and template on how leaders can motivate their teams.

Why Is It Important to Motivate a Team?

Motivating your team is essential for the following reasons:

Improved communication: The act of motivating gives a forum for leaders to communicate purpose and expectations. It also allows them to recognize efforts and results. These actions help team members feel more connected to their work, to each other, and to leaders. Improved communication builds the firm foundation of trust required to successfully motivate and engage with your team.

Reduced the spread of disengagement: When one member of a team is not motivated, their behavior reflects their disengagement. Gallup found that “quiet quitters” make up at least 50% of the workforce – with a high probability for more. This dissatisfied employee’s attitude is contagious and dampens the motivational spark of others. But being motivated and engaged are similarly contagious, which can ignite passion among the entire team.

Elevated performance and results: A leader who excels at motivation drives team members to produce high-quality work. A motivating leader is skilled at linking individual development goals to more significant business objectives. This in turn funnels back to positive results for the organization and motivates even more improvement in quality results.

Reduction in rework: Rework due to poor communication costs time and money as well as delays in decision-making. For example, miscommunication and insufficient project data contribute to 48% of all rework projects in the construction industry. A motivating team leader who consistently encourages value-driven work can help mitigate the need for rework.

Fostered camaraderie: Motivating team members is one way that leaders can interact with their people. Inspiring individuals to put their best foot forward and create innovative solutions collectively helps to nurture relationships and team cohesion. When this camaraderie and cohesion exist on a team, people will want to stay and continue to grow.

leader in foreground with view of listening crowd

How to Motivate Your Team to Success

Motivating your team to achieve success includes six strategies. While we offer suggestions on executing each strategy, we encourage you to reflect on the individual needs of your team.

1. Gather feedback: Giving team members a channel to offer feedback invites them to express factors that could feed disengagement if not properly addressed. Understanding that their views are appreciated creates psychological safety and motivates them to have an integral role on the team. The psychological safety that is built improves the team’s overall performance.

Seeking feedback requires active listening, critical thinking, and empathy. Pause and reflect on their feedback before speaking, responding, or sharing your views. Ask the proper questions and give others the chance to voice their thoughts. Listening with intention will also help you understand your team members and help collaboratively establish the relevant goals to generate and improve motivation.

2. Recognize and celebrate team and individual successes: Recognition is a simple but often neglected tool to motivate individuals and a team. Rather than rushing on the next project or task, take the time to recognize a job well done and give rewards at every opportunity. Highlighting the ways that the teams’ contributions directly influence others can be a valuable source of motivation and remind team members of the overall mission of the enterprise. Be sure to take time regularly to acknowledge individual and team accomplishments.

3. Involve team members in decision-making: When team members have a voice in critical decisions, they are more likely to take ownership of the results. Find ways, big or small, to empower your team members to share in the responsibility of outcomes. Invite their unique perspective for how to improve processes and procedures. The responsibility of the final decision still rests on your shoulders, but when team members have the opportunity to give their input, or at a minimum have their input considered, they feel valued and more engaged.

4. Outline potential career growth: Organizations and leaders that promote career development are 7.2 times more likely to engage and retain staff. Helping team members identify or create a career plan for themselves helps drive retention and loyalty to the business and the team. As you work with team members, consider the multiple paths or options that they could consider as they grow and set next steps related to their development. Encourage your team members to take ownership of their career growth and share your guidance as they create and adjust their career roadmaps accordingly. The intention is to motivate individuals naturally and unleash their full potential where they best fit and can make a difference.

5. Get to know your people as people: Employees need to know that they are more than just a number or a cog in the wheel of a big corporate machine. It is motivating and inspiring to know that someone sees and values you as a human first.

Get to know their strengths. Get to know their personalities. A Myers-Briggs (MBTI) or DISC assessment can help you distinguish how to individually motivate diverse personalities. For example, the promise of a department-wide social lunch for meeting production goals may be motivating for an extrovert, but not so appealing for an introvert. Whereas the reassurance of job security in their role may be more motivating for an “S” type on the DISC. Customize your motivational efforts according to what each individual appreciates most.

Motivation Unlocks New Perspectives

When you effectively execute the above strategies, you’ll witness an energy shift in your team as team members better understand their purpose and how it connects to the bigger picture. This new perspective helps build sources of inspiration. That inspiration generates more cultural motivation, and it becomes a compounding cycle that facilitates more motivation.

Not every task is deemed “exciting” in the workplace, but a motivating leader finds creative ways to keep the engine well-oiled. These leaders excel in balancing intention, passion, and strategy to strengthen drive.

Stay Equipped with Customized Leadership Solutions

Leadership should be a continuous journey of tools, tips, and techniques that stretch leaders to learn and grow. At CMOE, our Leadership Development Workshop instills this ongoing evolution. Learn more about how our program helps individuals master leadership competencies, and contact us for more information or a consultation.