Motivate Your Team! Eight Quick Tips to Motivate for Success

Ed Sykes

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Motivation is the key ingredient for success in any organization. You can have all the technical skills in the world; however, if you can’t motivate your team, you will not achieve success. As a leader, a majority of your job is to motivate others to succeed so that everyone’s goals are accomplished.

The following are eight quick tips to motivate your team:

1. Everyone Has Motivation
Your employees are motivated on some level. It is your job to find the level of their motivation and move your employees to the next level.

2. Listen to WIIFM
I wake up every morning listening to a very important radio station, WIIFM. I hope you do too. WIIFM stands for What’s In It For Me? To truly be a motivator, you must always be in tune to your employees’ WIIFM. Find out why it is beneficial for your employees to do a task, etc. Once you find out the employees’ motives, you find out how to motivate them.

3. It’s about Pain or Pleasure
Motivate your employees toward pleasure or away from pain. You motivate toward the pleasure by providing recognition, incentives, and rewards for doing a good job. You motivate away from the pain of a corrective action, losing a position, or doing a poor job. The key to this motivation is to be consistent with all your employees at all times.

4. Give Me a Reason
Do it because I said so! Well, with our educated workforce these days, that doesn’t work anymore. Employees like to know why tasks are being requested of them so that they can feel involved and that the task has worth. Let your employees know why doing the task is important to you, the organization, and for them.

5. Let Me Understand You
Take time to show sincere interest in your employees as people. Understand what your employees are passionate about in their lives. What are their special passions? What are their personal needs? What brings them joy or pain? What are their short-range and long-range goals? Once you understand the answers to these questions, you can move them to a new level of motivation, because you cared enough to ask the questions and show interest in their success. Once you understand your employee’s needs and goals, they will take more interest in understanding and achieving your goals.

6. Make Me Proud
Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon. " Give your employees the opportunity to be proud of their work. Reward team members publicly for a job well done. Give them an opportunity in a team meeting to explain how they accomplished the job. Have your organization’s Director, President, Vice President, etc. , give recognition to these employees by personally sending a note, recognizing them in an organizational or team meeting, or creating a “Hall or Wall of Fame" recognition for employees that really have gone beyond the call of duty.

7. Expect the Best
Expect the best and your employees will rise to that level. How do you do this? You do it with the words you use. Are you expressing positive expectations, or are you using words (kind of, sort of, we’ll try, we have to, we haven’t done that before, and that will never work) that communicate negative expectations? What does your body language say about you? Does it say, “I’m ready to take on any challenge, and I expect you can also;" or does your body language say “Please don’t give me another problem. I can’t handle it. "

Do our recognitions and rewards move our employees to do their best? Do we consistently communicate our standards and expectations for the best? Do we coach our team to always do better?

8. Walk the Talk
Our employees model our behavior. If we are confident about a major change in the organization, our employees will follow our behavior. If we come in late and leave early, guess what will happen? Remember, even when you don’t think someone is watching…they are always watching. Set the example for others to follow.

Apply these eight simple rules of motivation and you, too, will have the skills to motivate your team to be inspired, innovative, self-directed, and highly productive employees.

Ed Sykes is a professional speaker, author, and success coach in the areas of leadership, motivation, stress management, customer service, and team building. You can e-mail him at, or call him at (757) 427-7032. Go to his web site,, and signup for his newsletter, OnPoint, and receive the free ebooks, “Empowerment and Stress Secrets for the Busy Professional" or “Marvelous Customer Service Techniques for Outstanding Results. "


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