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How to motivate and inspire a team

17 ways to uncover and leverage your team’s intrinsic motivations

You’ve put a lot of work into building your business. You’ve focused on constant, never-ending improvement to provide more value than anyone else. You’ve mapped out your business plan and created your sales strategy. And you’ve sharpened your recruitment strategies and hired the right people for the job – at least you thought you did. But lately, you’ve been noticing team motivation declining.

You’ve tried enticing employees with bonuses, pay raises and benefits, but they’re still missing deliverables and seem unexcited about the job. All of the tried-and-true things you learned about how to motivate a team don’t seem to be working.

That’s because you’re using the wrong tools.

The top ways to motivate your team aren’t related to money: They’re related to each individual’s values. Tapping into that form of motivation takes true leadership. But once you do, you’ll unlock the limitless potential of your team.

1. Understand the psychology behind motivation

There are two types of team motivation: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic motivation includes pay, benefits and promotions. Intrinsic motivation refers to the satisfaction a person gets from completing a certain task. The best ways to motivate your team use intrinsic motivation, leveraging each individual’s need for growth and purpose.

2. Know and share your vision

Team motivation starts with internal reflection: You must discover your own purpose before you can relate to others’ needs for fulfillment. What brings you into work every day? What is your ultimate goal for your business? Distill your purpose into a powerful vision statement and share it with your team.

 3. Lead by example

Sharing your vision isn’t enough – you must live your purpose every day. Great leaders embody the traits they want to see in their team: hard work, dedication, loyalty and more. Admit when you’re wrong. Learn from your mistakes. You’ll inspire your team to do the same.

4. Discover your leadership style

Leading by example is a great start, but you can dig deeper. What are your strengths and weaknesses? Once you know your natural leadership style, you can develop your skills and become a well-rounded leader who can switch styles to inspire a team in any circumstance.

5. Master communication

The best leaders are the best communicators. They excel at reading nonverbal cues and use mirroring and pacing techniques to exert influence. They’re able to adapt to different communication styles to ensure they are understood. And they are always empathetic and open to new views.

6. Improve your listening skills

Learning how to motivate a team often isn’t about speaking at all – it’s about deep listening. Ask questions and truly listen to the answers. Implement solutions whenever you can. Knowing they are heard is extremely motivating to team members.

7. Build rapport

Deep listening skills are also the first step to building rapport with your team. Rapport is about relationship-building: being open and authentic, finding common ground and establishing mutual respect. Creating those deeper connections is essential to intrinsic team motivation.

8. Be honest

Building rapport also means being honest – but the benefits of honesty go even further. When you’re transparent with your team, you’ll build trust in the workplace and earn respect. And when your team respects you, they will be much more open to your suggestions.

9. Use leverage

At the root of intrinsic team motivation lies each individual’s values: You must find out what drives them to come to work every day. Do they love the freedom to be creative? Does work fulfill their need for significance or contribution? Do they enjoy working on mastering skills? Discover their “why” and you’ll discover how to motivate a team.

10. Recognize accomplishments

Now that you’ve built the foundation of team motivation, you can implement a series of actions to help inspire your team to greatness. The first is recognition – everyone wants to be recognized. When you see a team member go above and beyond, recognize them. You’ll empower them to do more of the same.

motivate employees

11. Create goals

If you’re not giving your employees clear tasks and goals, you may not have a team motivation problem – you may have a communication problem. Goals let your team know what is expected and set a clear path for advancement – and are a must at any successful company.

12. Use performance reviews

Performance reviews are an excellent form of feedback that not only helps you create goals for each employee, but lets them know where they stand. They’re a clear, objective form of communication that can be just what an employee needs to improve.

13. Foster collaboration

When employees work as a true team, rather than separate individuals, everyone is more productive. Teams hold each other accountable, but also help out when someone is overwhelmed or absent. Outings, fun traditions and friendly competitions foster that sense of collaboration and improve team motivation.

14. Encourage personal growth

Those with a growth mindset achieve goals because they enjoy learning new things. You can develop this mindset in your team by encouraging personal growth. Send them articles about new skills they could master, books about success and invites to networking events. Personal growth leads to professional growth.

15. Reward creativity

What do the Apples, Pelotons and Spotifys of the world have in common? They all have cultures of innovation that encourage employees to take risks, think creatively and always reach for the next best thing. You can embrace this form of team motivation by encouraging brainstorming, rewarding originality and learning from failures and mistakes rather than punishing them.

16. Change it up

Boredom is the great team motivation killer – and it especially affects your top performers. If those at the top feel they have nothing else to learn, why stay? You can help them get out of their rut by switching up their routines, assigning them a new, big project or even encouraging a lateral move. Engaged employees are driven employees.

 17. Trust your team

One of the best ways to inspire your team may be to take a more hands-off approach. You’ll never really know what your team can accomplish if you’re always micromanaging, and many employees find it stifling. Learn more about how to embrace your leadership role and manage your business from a place to trust, and you just may find the key to how to motivate your team.

Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins is an entrepreneur, bestselling author, philanthropist and the nation’s #1 Life and Business Strategist. Author of five internationally bestselling books, including the recent New York Times #1 best-seller UNSHAKEABLE, Mr. Robbins has empowered more than 50 million people from 100 countries through his audio, video and life training programs. He created the #1 personal and professional development program of all time, and more than 4 million people have attended his live seminars.

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