Motivate your Team and Increase Productivity

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Understanding what motivates you is tough enough. Understanding what motivates those around you? That’s a whole different story! If you can figure that one out, you’re a rarity (for real, tell us your secrets)! Motivation is the key to high productivity, which is something every leader pushes their team to accomplish. If you can effectively motivate those on your team, you’ll be set up to achieve big things together. When individuals are motivated, they naturally bring more energy and focus to the table, able to be more productive and perform at their best.

To better understand motivation, know that there are two main categories of motivation: extrinsic and intrinsic. Within each category are sub-categories:

Extrinsic Motivation

Extrinsic motivation in the workplace refers to employees who are driven by external rewards. These external rewards typically involve money, acknowledgement, or other types of compensation. Within extrinsic motivation is:

  • Achievement Motivation: individuals are satisfied by reaching goals and the acknowledgement that comes with achievement.
    • Example for satisfying an employee motivated by achievement – Offering a bonus or award for employees and teams to recognize their exemplary efforts.
  • Affiliation Motivation: individuals are satisfied by a feeling of belonging within the team and/or organization.
    • Example for satisfying an employee motivated by affiliation – Providing socialization opportunities during work and outside of work hours that allow employees to build trust and relationships with others.
  • Incentive Motivation: individuals are satisfied by compensation for above-average performance.
    • Example for satisfying an employee motivated by incentive – awarding additional PTO when certain goals or checkpoints are met.


Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation in the workplace refers to employees who do their work simply because they feel personally rewarded by the work and their efforts. These internal rewards are intangible and psychological. Within intrinsic motivation is:

  • Competence and Learning Motivation: individuals are satisfied by feeling competent or capable.
    • Example for satisfying an employee motivated by competence and learning – tasking a high-level employee to assist with teaching and familiarizing a new employee with certain processes, tasks, and norms.
  • Attitude Motivation: individuals are satisfied by changing the way they or other people think and feel.
    • Example for satisfying an employee motivated by attitude – allowing PTO for volunteering and community involvement.
  • Creative motivation: individuals are satisfied by expressing themselves in a creative way.
    • Example for satisfying an employee motivated by creativity – installing a whiteboard wall for employees to draw on as a creativity outlet.


How to improve motivation within your team

Motivating others is not black and white which can make it extremely frustrating for leaders. What motivates one employee won’t motivate another, which means it takes great thought and intention for motivational techniques to be effective. Although it’s not black and white, there are some things you can do that are sure to improve motivation within your entire team:

Make expectations clear

Lack of clarity will cause employees to act without aim or purpose, slowing performance. Provide expectations on goals, setting measurables to evaluate progress.

Provide continuous feedback

The more frequently and consistently you provide feedback to your employees, the easier it will be for them to understand how their actions affect the team and organization. Saving all your feedback for annual review time is a bad idea, as most of the feedback will then be irrelevant by the time it’s discussed.

Correct privately, praise publicly

Most people would prefer not to be reprimanded or given negative feedback in front of others (you know how embarrassing that is). Discuss negative feedback with your employees in private, showing your respect and that you don’t want to offend or embarrass them. On the other hand, if you have positive feedback to share, it can absolutely be shared in public settings unless the employee has said otherwise. Public praise is typically appreciated and greatly motivating for employees.

Believe in your employees

Show you trust in the abilities and skills of your employees with words of encouragement. Whether you’re sharing positive or negative feedback, sprinkle in some encouraging words. Something as simple as this will ensure your employees feel motivated to do their best work.

Make rewards achievable

Offer rewards that are truly attainable for most employees, trying to stay away from a mega bonus trip awarded annually to the top employee. If rewards aren’t reasonable and employees don’t believe they can achieve them, their effort and excitement in reaching goals will dramatically drop. Consider offering multiple, smaller rewards to create ongoing motivation for employees pursuing goals.

Let people know what they’re fighting for

Everybody wants to be part of something bigger than themselves. Those who show up to work every day just to clock in, cross off their checklist, and clock out… Those individuals lack motivation and aren’t bought in to your company’s mission and goals. You might think they are lazy. However, maybe these individuals aren’t aware of how great their impact could be on their team and the organization. Let your people know the difference they are making with the work they’re doing.

You will never have all the answers for how to build motivation and sustain high levels within everybody on your team or in your workplace. That doesn’t mean you should think of it as a lost cause. With intention and thought, you can continually work to figure out what makes each person tick, bringing out their best work. When individuals are motivated, they will be more productive and bring their best performance at work.


If you’re ready to increase motivation within your team, let’s chat!

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