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There are many theories about motivating self and others. At its most simple I think it comes down to one thing. It’s about whether you or the other person want to do it – the work, the task, the goal. If you are the manager of the other person and want them to be motivated and bringing their best to their work and team every day, what can you do?

Let’s start with two questions.

What is being motivated and bringing your best to your work or team?

For many of us, it might be enthusiasm, energy, creativity and quite simply, getting the job done in a way that meets or exceeds expectations. I guess as a manager you would like this motivation to be contagious too, as a positive influence and contribution towards everyone in your team.

It’s a lot to ask for, every day and in every way at your work and team.

What can you do?

What can (or should) you do as their manager to enable their motivation at work? Here are three tried and tested tips based on decades of working with managers in many different sectors and organisations:

  1. Communicate, many times, a focus and direction for their work, so their effort doesn’t feel random or aimless. They need a clear definition of success. Goals are one way to do this.
  2. Provide them with feedback on their contribution – regularly, along the way with large projects, not just at the end. Make sure there is a balance of what is good and what would help things be better still.
  3. Be real. People like their manager to be a genuine person, not just hiding behind a façade of what you have to cascade downwards to them from your manager. Most of us like authentic relationships at work, with our manager and our colleagues, so we can feel secure and take risks with our work and take it to new heights.

It’s key though, to remember that motivation levels fluctuate. We are humans not machines. Our motivation – our energy, enthusiasm, creativity and ability to get the job done – does vary – whether with day of the week, stage of project or the task itself.

As a manager, the most important thing might be to look at levels of motivation your people show over time, to see how or if it links with their performance.

This way you can spot variations early, use the tool of conversation to find out what is happening, and develop a plan together to keep enthusiasm high.


Gill How is a Leadership Developer, a National Training Award Winner and Master Executive Coach.  She loves to work with managers and professionals to help them develop awareness and skills to bring their best and that of their team to work everyday. If she can add value to your team, please get in touch.


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Photo by Jeffrey Lin on Unsplash

Gill How

Helping leaders grow, step up and deliver outstanding results

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