How to motivate people at work

Motivation predicts success better than intelligence, ability or salary. A motivated employee is a productive employee – and a happy one too. That’s why the most critical task leaders have is to motivate their people.

How to motivate people at work

Your people may have all the expertise in the world but, if they’re not motivated, it’s unlikely that they’ll achieve their true potential. You can’t directly control a person’s interest in his or her job, but you can encourage that process by creating an environment that helps him to become more intrinsically motivated.

Motivation basics

First of all, there are two types of motivation:

Extrinsic motivation is when you use external factors to encourage your team to do what you want. Pay raises, time off, bonus checks, and the threat of job loss are all extrinsic motivators.

Intrinsic motivation is internal. It’s about having a personal desire to overcome a challenge, to produce high-quality work, or to interact with team members you like and trust.

Most situations at work involve both types of motivation. If we do a job we enjoy, some of the work we do will be intrinsically motivating. But, we probably wouldn’t go to work if we weren’t being paid. Enjoying your job is intrinsically motivating, while being paid a salary to do it is extrinsically motivating.

Tips about motivating employees

  • Reward them. People like praises, recognitions and rewards. They want to know they’re doing a good job and are valued. You can offer rewards like an extra paid day off, gift cards, cash rewards or tickets to the movies to show your appreciation. Keep in mind that every team member is different, and will likely have different motivators. So, it’s important to get to know your people, discover what motivates them and find a good mixture of extrinsic and intrinsic motivators.
  • Trust them. Let them know you trust them to do the best job possible and they will rarely disappoint you. And they will fill those shoes sooner than you think. A vote of confidence can go a long way.
  • Give them a purpose. Motivate your employees by giving them a purpose. When you accomplish that, they understand the vision better and are able to execute more strongly. In addition, by understanding their purpose and the purpose of the business, an employee is better able to understand how they fit into the big picture.
  • Give them a responsibility and autonomy. Giving workers responsibility can make them rise to the challenge.The more impact an employee has in your business, the more likely they are to feel connected to the business, and to aggregate the business’ success with their own.
  • Give them challenges and goals. People aren’t inspired by doing the ordinary or by meeting expectations. They’re inspired by the exertion, goals, creativity and sacrifice needed to exceed what they themselves thought possible.
  • Provide training and development. Employees want to continue to develop their knowledge and skills. The best companies invest time and money in training their employees, knowing that the investment will be returned many times over in not only a more capable but also more loyal workforce.
  • Provide good working environment. Create a workplace that people enjoy being in and feel inspired by is another way of maintaining the motivational buzz.
  • Share information generously. Employees can’t be fully engaged in their work if they’re in the dark or lack vital information. The more people know, the more valued and respected they feel and the better they’re going to perform.
  • Be human about it. Motivate individuals rather than the team. Your team is made up of individuals who have their own unique circumstances, backgrounds and experiences. Reach out to each person in the way he or she best understands. When you make an effort to understand each team member, you can help them stay motivated. Motivation is prevalent in workplaces where people are treated as valued human beings. Trust, respect, civil conversation, and listening prevail in a workplace that fosters employee motivation.

Motivation at work is a choice employees make. No matter how hard you try, there is a bottom line for motivating employees. Employees choose to exhibit motivated behavior at work. You can do everything discussed here, but employees are ultimately in charge of motivating themselves. You can only provide an environment at work that is conducive to and supportive of employees choosing to become motivated about issues related to work.

Photo credit: aronbaker2 via VisualHunt.com /

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