How To Motivate Your Team and Succeed Together

Motivating people is not about telling them how to do something – it’s about getting them to want to do it.
How To Motivate Your Team and Succeed Together
There are a number of different ways to motivate people. Understanding how they work is not only important for your business but also for your own professional growth as a manager. However, you must also acknowledge the fact that every employee is unique and will respond differently to different motivational tactics.

In this article you will find:

  • 10 simple ways for you to motivate your team
  • Frequently asked questions about team motivation

Here are 10 simple ways to motivate your team and improve their performance:

10 Simple Ways to Motivate your Team

1. Recognize a Job Well Done

How will recognition motivate my employees? Managers and HR pros may be on the fence about incorporating recognition programs at their companies, but here's why it's a great idea. Recognition creates an emotional connection between employer and employee – a critical piece of employee engagement – and fulfills employees' basic needs of esteem and belonging within a group. 

2. Take your Culture Virtual

Whether or not your team is completely remote, it's a pretty fair bet that a significant amount of collaboration happens virtually. It only makes sense that the culture and core values that define your organization should extend to the virtual realm as well. While the concept of taking company culture virtual to support your modern workforce makes a lot of sense in theory, the logistics of how to actually accomplish that can be confusing. We recommend working with a partner like Fond. A unifying cultural hub that offers an accessible social recognition feed where employees can come to feel appreciated and more connected to one another. 
Fond allows program administrators to configure custom recognition occasions, which means you can encourage employees to recognize each other for culturally relevant accomplishments. Visit for more info.

3. Break big goals into more manageable chunks

Even if everyone on your team can't wait to tackle a massive new project, when the time comes to get to work, motivation can falter. This doesn't mean employees don't care about the project; it might just seem too aspirational so big that employees can't imagine completing it. Charles Duhigg, author of Smarter Faster Better and The Power of Habit, found that one of the most effective ways to successfully push progress is to divide work into a combination of big goals and S.M.A.R.T. goals. Remembering the big goals keeps your eyes on the finish line, and the S.M.A.R.T. goals light your way. While S.M.A.R.T. goals are in fact smart, the name is first and foremost an acronym that tells you all the features your incremental goals should incorporate to get results.

4. Focus on Intrinsic (NOT extrinsic) Awards

Sure money is important – we've all got to eat and pay the rent. But as a motivator, money definitely has its limits. A study conducted by Princeton economist Angus Deaton and psychologist Daniel Kahneman demonstrated that money doesn't contribute to our overall happiness above $75,000. Income beyond this threshold doesn't really impact our day-to-day contentment and therefore isn't a great motivator. Here is where intrinsic motivation comes into play. Author and Menlo Innovations CEO Richard Sheridan has seen this play out throughout his career. Here's what he has to say in his book Joy Inc. about money as a motivator: “The biggest mistake I see is when companies go right to extrinsic rewards to motivate … title, pay, stock options, incentives, office. We need to look no further than Wells Fargo to see how badly this can turn out.” Ok – so if extrinsic rewards don't matter, what do you do?

Jenn Lim, the CEO and co-founder of Delivering Happiness, offers an alternative: 

“Intrinsic motivation that supports who that person is and what they believe in (e.g. purpose, values, autonomy, progress, relationships) is what matters not only most but what makes the motivation last (i.e. sustainable happiness).”

For Sheridan, Lim, and others, it's things like purpose and values that really move the needle over the long term.

5. Give Your Team Autonomy

How many times have you heard someone utter the phrase, “I really appreciate how my boss micromanages every aspect of my job.” Unless you're lying, I'm going to assume it's … never. 

Human beings value autonomy. We all want to feel in control of our time and energy, and a lack of agency is a surefire way to torpedo your team's motivation. Granting autonomy also demonstrates that you trust your team, which will go a long way toward forming the emotional bond between employer and employee that you see at highly engaged companies.

In the long run, this builds more self-sufficient teams because they create their own process.

But despite these benefits, autonomy is not the norm for most businesses. Managers fear that giving their direct reports too much leeway will create a lax environment and employees will take advantage. Cracking the proverbial whip is seen as a way to prevent slacking off.

6. Gamify Your Most Important Tasks

Want a proven motivator for everyone, no matter who it is? Looking for team motivation ideas that work? Try turning work into a game. One way to inject some competition into the workplace is through gamification – i.e., introducing elements of gameplay to your team's most important tasks. You can have your team members unlock badges for hitting milestones. Instead of digital badges, you also use actual buttons.

7. Create an Awe-inspiring Work Environment

Motivation and mood go hand in hand. That's because your mood affects your energy, ability to concentrate, and overall sense of well-being. If you're looking for employee motivation ideas that work, then you might want to invest in your work environment.

According to a study from Ohio State University and the National Institute of Mental Health, your work environment seriously impacts your mood. In the study, workers in older buildings with low ceilings and loud air conditioners were more stressed than those in newer buildings with things like more natural light and open layouts. So it makes sense to invest in a work environment where people actually want to spend their time. (Crazy, we know.) That's why so many offices are starting to resemble homes, and why the kitchen is becoming the center of office life.

Creating a homey atmosphere will motivate your company, minimize distractions, and have your team members looking forward to coming to work each day.

8. Be Transparent

Every relationship, including work relationships, is built on trust. Defaulting to transparency is one of the best ways to encourage an atmosphere of trust between you and your team and a team that trusts you will be more motivated and engaged with their work. Transparency also helps ensure that everyone is working with the same information. That in itself can benefit the team.

9. Provide Clarity

In order to be motivated about your work, it's crucial that you actually understand what your goals and objectives are. For many employees, that understanding starts with transparency and ends with clarity. Without clarity, transparency begins to lose its effectiveness and motivational power.

Make sure you're giving everyone a very clear and concise mission they can get motivated about in the first place because it's nearly impossible to invest genuine motivation into something you're unaware of, or confused about.

10. Envision and Share Positive Outcomes

It's easier to achieve success when you can envision it. Professionals of all types, from athletes to musicians and CEOs, all practice this technique to improve their motivation. Luckily, if you're providing a clear objective, you're already more than halfway there. Help the team understand what it would mean to achieve that objective. When someone makes real progress toward that objective or outcome, share that progress as a source of motivation for everyone.


  • Motivation is a process. If you’re a team leader, take time to show your team how you’re being motivated by your dreams and motivations, and let them learn from it. You will be able to gain employees who are also driven by their own individual motivations.
  • When a leader is able to get the best performance out of their team, everyone wins. motivate   them or be motivated by them.

People also ask these questions about team motivation

Here are the answers to the most common questions about team motivation:

Why is Employee Motivation important?

Employee motivation is a critical aspect of the workplace which leads to the performance of the department and even the company. Motivating your employees needs to be a regular routine. There are companies that sadly fail to understand the importance of employee motivation.

“An employee's motivation is a direct result of the sum of interactions with his or her manager.” – Bob Nelson

Why Does Employee Engagement Matter?

Are your employees passionate about their jobs? Do they come to the office every day eager and enthusiastic to dig in and contribute to the company's goals? If not, you may be facing an employee engagement gap, with team members who don't feel motivated or connected to their roles. This can be a serious issue. A disengaged staff can have a significantly negative effect on productivity, customer service levels, and retention.

What Are the Two Main Types of Motivation?

1. Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation is a type of motivation in which an individual is motivated by internal desires and is satisfied when internally rewarded.

For example, let’s say an individual named Bob has set himself a goal to begin losing weight and becoming healthier. Let’s also imagine that Bob’s reason to pursue this path of fitness and wellness is to improve his health overall and feel better about his appearance. Since Bob’s desire to change comes from within, his motivation is intrinsic.

2. Extrinsic Motivation

Extrinsic motivation, on the other hand, is a type of motivation in which an individual is motivated by external desires or extrinsic rewards.

Rather than being motivated by the need to look better and feel healthier, let’s say that Bob was feeling pressure from his wife to slim down and improve his physique, both external factors. Since this pressure comes from an outside source, this is an example of extrinsic motivation.

Author Details

Written by:
Najeeb Khan
Head of Training & Events
Leadership Development, Team Training, Belonging, Diversity & Inclusion, & Innovation
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