The Truth About Motivating Your Team That Most Leaders Don’t Know

The Truth About Motivating Your Team That Most Leaders Don’t Know


Motivation isn’t born out of a dollar sign, and passion doesn’t arrive after getting a raise. The truth is, most people aren’t driven by money. If you are looking for ways to motivate your team, you must learn to look elsewhere.

By getting clear on what my team’s personal needs are, I have found that I can discover different ways to motivate them and identify alternative opportunities to impact their lives. By doing so, it allows for a greater level of commitment, intention, and passion to be poured into day-to-day work.

One of the biggest gifts you can give your employees: a trusting and productive team. Here’s how I spark exponential motivation among my team.

1. Encourage their external goals.

Many of my employees have a side hustle or side projects. Some businesses frown upon this, going as far as to have employees sign contracts prohibiting external work, but I don’t ask them to stop. Instead, I encourage them to continue following their curiosity and take it upon myself to find ways to help them. I show up and ask how I can help them reach their goals. I approach the conversation with the same enthusiasm for their internal career growth or side hustle.

If I told them to stop, they would lose motivation to do great work. Think about it. If you force someone to do something they don’t want to do, you aren’t building trust. But by recognizing these are individuals who have goals in life outside of your office building, you can build a stronger relationship and more respect as a leader. Rest assured, when you need something in the future, they will show up for you.

2. Develop other leaders.

Strong leaders create other leaders — they shouldn’t create minions who follow them into battle. Allow others to make the conscious choice to choose to work for you because you treat them so well they wouldn’t want it any other way.

Empower your employees to lead, be it leading themselves, a smaller team, or a large project within the company. This empowerment generates organic motivation that has legs to grow.

3. Consider the life cycles of your employees.

As a leader, you have to be someone who sees people over the long term. Similar to how you view a product life cycle, consider the life cycle of each employee and adjust your actions and the root of the motivation accordingly.

Although it may be tempting to think in the moment of what your business needs, look at where your employees fit within the life of their career to know where to drive motivation. Someone going through the early stages of parenthood might be motivated by more time off to be with family or daycare perks. On the flip side, a fresh graduate showing up for day one at the office might be motivated by the opportunity for a promotion, to travel for business, or to lead a project. When you know where your employees are in their careers, it’s easier to pinpoint what will inspire them to do great work.

I’ve learned to understand my employees’ short- and long-term goals and even bucket-list dreams. One of my top-performing employees has a bucket-list goal to take her grandmother to Ireland. It is my goal to use the proceeds of my personal profit to fulfill this for her.

Sustained motivation goes deeper than occasional bonuses and annual raises. Take the time to identify this, and see how your business grows.

JUN 12, 2021
Photo Credit: Getty Images