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Team Motivation – 10 Effective Ways to Keep Your Team Motivated

Team Motivation - Lift Your Team Motivation in Sky

Whether you are leading a small team of people or the leader of an organization, your people are your most valuable asset and resource.

When the enthusiasm, expertise, and talents of a motivated group of individuals are combined, you and your team can accomplish the goals and objectives you have set for your business.

A business would not exist without a committed group of people working passionately to grow the business. Thus team motivation is critical to keep your people energized, inspired, and motivated to excel regularly.

To fully maximize team motivation in the workplace, firstly, we must understand the many forms of motivation and how they individually function in a professional setting.

This article allows you to learn more about team motivation and its importance, what to avoid when motivating others, ten practical ways to motivate your team and the different types of motivation in the workplace.

How Does Team Motivation Work, and Why is It Important?

Nobody else can control a person’s motivation or interest in the job. To a certain extent, it is the person’s responsibility to keep themselves motivated in what they do.

However, there are steps that you, as a leader or manager, can take to encourage your team members to become more genuinely driven. Motivation plays a vital role in identifying and meeting the needs and wants of the employees and the company.

Team motivation is also the key to helping the company continue to grow and push to greater heights. When team motivation suffers, employees’ strengths are less utilized, employees’ performance and productivity will suffer, which will directly affect the company’s revenue.

Motivated individuals at work are observed to be more eager and driven in the work they do. They tend to take action and work faster.

They are also inspired to give their best for the company and themselves. They will consistently maintain an optimistic outlook at work and are very flexible to any changes in the workplace.

10 Effective Ways How To Motivate Your Team

Whether you are a manager or leader, how a team performs at work depends on your leadership qualities.

A person with poor leadership skills may break a team, while a person with excellent leadership skills can motivate and inspire others to achieve greater heights at work.

Here we listed the ten best and practical ways that can guide your team on the right track towards success and achieving excellent results in the workplace.

Communicate Your Vision and Set Clear, Specific Goals

Employees will feel energized, motivated and inspired if they can see the end goal and visualize where the company stands in relation to the vision.

Therefore, it is crucial to make sure the vision and long-term ambitions of the company are communicated clearly to them.

A strong leader would set SMART goals for the company while also encouraging the participation of their team members and aligning the goals with their professional interests.

It is vital to have everyone on the same page. Each team member understands their relative importance and the role they play in achieving the goals and vision you’ve set.

Promote a Clean and Positive Work Environment

Creating and maintaining a pleasant and appealing work environment is essential to keep your team motivation level high.

Working in such an environment will promote the employees’ productivity, happiness, and creativity.

You can consider privacy, noise, air quality, natural light, relaxation places, and the overall atmosphere when designing the workplace.

Provide Positive Feedback and Reward Your Team

Giving positive reinforcement, such as praise and recognition for team members’ effort and contribution, goes a long way in motivating and inspiring them to continue working hard for the company.

When giving praise or recognition to team members, remember to be specific in your compliments and appreciation.

Instead of simply saying “well done,” invest some time explaining how their work impacted the company and the areas for further improvement.

This will serve as a source of motivation for them and help them thrive in their future jobs.

You can also reward your team members for their effort in the form of monetary incentives, additional benefits or giving them more responsibilities in their role.

Provide Opportunities for Personal and Professional Development

To motivate and encourage your team members to produce excellent results in the workplace, you must provide them with opportunities to further develop and upskill themselves.

This way, they will feel helpful and valued by the company and have greater satisfaction in their job (read more on employee experience management).

Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, so a training and personal development plan is not a one-size-fits-all program; it needs to be customized to the person’s specific needs.

These training can be, for example, setting stretch goals that push them out of their comfort zone, shadowing or mentoring others to improve their knowledge and skills in certain areas and on-the-job training.

In addition, you can also provide them with learning opportunities to stay up-to-date with the latest technology and industry expertise.

With this new learning and knowledge, they can discover new ideas and continue to grow in their professions.

Foster Teamwork and Collaboration

A team is just like a family where trust and mutual support is crucial. To encourage teamwork and foster collaboration among team members, you can organize team-building activities regularly, be it during or after working hours.

This will allow you and your team members to bond and get to know each other at a deeper level.

As a leader, you need to encourage your team members to contribute ideas during team meetings and emphasize that you will treat each of them fairly and equally.

You can keep your team members engaged by actively soliciting their feedback and recommendations and put their suggestions into action, where feasible.

Make it a Point to Celebrate Every Success

The road to success is made up of thousands of small steps. Therefore, every step counts, and it is essential to recognize even the tiniest accomplishments.

Remember to give praise for every successful step taken towards the goal. Show your team that you’ve all taken another critical step forward towards the goal.

This way, you can keep the momentum and motivation within the team going until the team reaches their ultimate goal.

Some companies may be hesitant to include these guidelines into their HR practises, and they might think that celebrating small victories is not essential.

Still, recognizing and rewarding team members makes them feel more connected to the organization.

Avoid Useless Meetings

A meeting can be a massive waste of time; a study has found that companies, on average, spend 10 hours in fruitless meetings every week.

One way to avoid this is to set an agenda for your group and one on one meetings ahead of time. Distribute the agenda beforehand to ensure everyone involved is aware of the agenda and comes prepared.

Make sure to invite only those that are necessary and stick to the scheduled duration.

Make Sure to Pay What Your Talents are Worth

Always keep yourself updated with the salary benchmark in your industry, as well as what other firms are paying for talents with the credentials, expertise, and experience you have hired.

Make sure that the amount you pay your talents is similar or slightly above the industry benchmark. You do not want to risk underpaying your best talents for what they are worth and, in the end, losing them to your competitors.

Encourage Healthy Competition

Creating healthy competition within a team is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes, having a friendly and small competition among the team members may improve camaraderie and team engagement.

The purpose of promoting such an environment is not to create a highly competitive environment within the team.

The goal is to improve team member’s performance and foster a team-oriented mentality. The key here is to ensure that the competition is enjoyable and rewarding for the team, not specific individuals.

You do not want to let a friendly competition get out of control, or you may risk triggering disputes among the team members and undermining collaboration and team morale.

Do not Punish Mistakes or Failure

We’re all human, and we make mistakes. The most important thing is to learn from our mistakes so that we don’t repeat them in the future.

When a team member makes a mistake, Instead of punishing team members when they make a mistake, we should encourage them to view it as a lesson.

Guide them to pinpoint how they can improve and avoid this mistake in the future. While positive punishment or negative punishment, can be effective in the workplace in certain conditions, it should be used in combination with reinforcements for it to be most effective.

Alternatively, adopting a strength-based approach can encourage a solution-based conversation among team members and foster a strong sense of collaboration and engagement.

What NOT to do When You’re Trying to Motivate Your Team

Drive-by praise.

Too much drive-by praise in the form of texts and emails or even stopping by the person’s desk thanking them for their excellent work on their way out of the office might cause the gratitude/appreciation message to lose its meaning.

When overused, this kind of praise risks making the team members anticipate positive reinforcement even for completing tasks that are a part of their primary job requirements.

Making stuff up.

Putting effort into raising your team members’ spirit by telling them that you spoke with the higher management to inform them that they did a fantastic job at work is excellent.

And this is fantastic if you follow through on what you started. Unfortunately, some managers may have a good intention of this, but they are not doing themselves and their team any favours by making things up.

Team members can detect their manager’s insincerity or outright lying easily. Eventually, the trust the team members have in their managers will erode.

Guilt gratitude.

It’s embarrassing when a manager who feels guilty tries to compensate for their guilt by lavishing praise.

Continuously praising a team member’s achievement in front of other colleagues to make up for something the manager feels guilty about is not a smart move to try to inspire others.

This approach benefits the person giving the praise and making themselves feel better, but not the recipient. If you feel guilty about anything, the best thing to do is to be transparent about it and thank the person sincerely for helping you out.

Types of Motivation

Understanding what motivates leaders externally and internally is a key to achieve success and gain satisfaction and fulfillment in the workplace. Motivation can be split into intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation comes from within you, where you are driven to accomplish a task because it is aligned with your values and goals.

Intrinsic motivation is an internalized behavior that sustains one’s motivation on a long term basis to attain their personal goals and accomplish tasks.

To promote intrinsic motivation within your team, you need to be deliberate with your feedback. Using positive criticism and feedback can not only help your team members to understand your expectations but also empowers them to work towards the goal together.

Extrinsic Motivation

Extrinsic motivation is a type of operant conditioning where rewards and punishments are usually used to motivate others towards a desired behavior or action.

Some examples of extrinsic factors used to promote motivation in others are rewards such as bonuses, sales commissions, recognition and fame, or punishments such as pay cuts and disciplinary actions.

Extrinsic motivation can be useful in some contexts in the workplace to promote engagement and team motivation.

However, this method may not be a feasible long-term approach as it tends to lose its effectiveness over time and may result in employee burnout.

Using extrinsic motivation may be effective in motivating your team to accept a new challenge, acquire a new skill or meet their monthly KPIs.

It is critical to ensure that each member is equipped with the necessary resources to take on interesting new projects that they are enthusiastic about.

Types of Team Motivation in the Workplace

Everyone’s needs in the workplace can be different. As a leader, you need to tailor the approach differently to motivate your team members depending on their needs.

Thus, you need to understand the different types of motivations before coming up with a specific approach.

Affiliation Motivation

Affiliation motivation refers to an individual’s motivation to be accepted by others and to do well to fulfill their expectations.

In the workplace, adopting an affiliation motivation approach is about motivating team members to communicate freely. They will then start to form deep bonds with one another, resulting in a sense of community.

Individuals energized by affiliation tend to find pleasure and enjoyment in providing their support to the team. Recognizing who in your team is strongly driven by affiliation might help you to select the ideal person to take part in a group project.

Competence Motivation

Competence motivation revolves around the concept that individuals are motivated to participate in activities to acquire or showcase their talents.

Their conviction in their competence, be it in the physical, cognitive or social domain, comes from successfully resolving a difficult challenge and receiving praise.

Achieving success in any of the domains will help to teach these individuals that they are in control of their performance.

The pleasure they get from a positive perception of their competence and control tends to improve or maintain their competence motivation.

Achievement Motivation

Achievement motivation refers to the need for success or drive for excellence. The individual’s basis for success is different from a person to another, depending on various reasons.

Achievement motivation can be identified from two distinct needs. One is the individual’s drive to achieve, which is tied to their desire to attain their goals, whereas the other is the individual’s desire to avoid failure.

Because they are terrified of failing, some individuals may be unwilling to accept the responsibility to engage in challenging goals outside of their comfort zone.

Some easily detectable symptoms of individuals driven by the motive to avoid failure are self-criticism, elevated heart rate and anxiousness. They are also worried about the consequences of failing.

All these can lead to poor performance in the workplace. On the other hand, individuals who feel compelled to pursue successful goals are more driven to stick with goals they know they can attain.

They are less likely to avoid running away from responsibilities and are not afraid to take up new challenges.

Incentive Motivation

Incentive motivation highlights that individuals are motivated by a desire for rewards and reinforcement. They tend to behave in ways that they feel will result in a reward while avoiding behaviors that may result in punishment.

The effectiveness of a similar incentive might vary depending on the time and situation the incentive is provided.

It may also vary depending on individuals because of different values or psychological and social factors.

Incentives can only motivate individuals if they have set a value on the incentive they expect to receive for meeting the goals.

Motivation in Management

Your job as a manager is to keep your team members motivated and engaged in the workplace.

It is critical to balance extrinsic motivators, like salary increment and improvements in the working environment and intrinsic motivators, like assigning team members duties they enjoy doing.

As a start, you can examine your perception of your team members. It is essential to adopt a participative and strength-based approach management style with your team.

Your team members are likely to respond more favourably to you if you give them the responsibility to make their own decision. When allowed to collaborate with others to get things done, they will likely be more motivated at work.

It is also essential to create an environment conducive to inspiration and motivation. The essence of a conducive environment is all about team members having a good time at work.

Having a good time at work means they can genuinely communicate with each other deeper and not superficially. Remember to show your team members how much you appreciate their efforts.

A team is bound to have a mix of high performers and underachievers. It is important to show equal recognition for the effort that each of them is making.

Putting in place a reward system. Everyone enjoys completing tasks, achieving objectives and getting the sense of accomplishment that comes with success.

Monetary incentives from management is a decent positive reinforcement, but the acknowledgement from peers and leaders is most prized.

Last but not least, keep in mind that your leadership qualities inspire your team members and motivate them to go above and beyond for the company.

By taking steps to improve your leadership qualities, you can foster loyalty and trust within the team.

In addition, you can motivate them to fulfill their true potential and achieve incredible feats for the company.

Frequently Asked Questions About Team Motivation

What to say to inspire a team?

To truly inspire your team, you must know what they are passionate about. Remind them of why they come to work every day. Ensure that they know the importance of their job and how you value them.

When your employees realize the importance of their work and connect their work with their personal goals, they are far more likely to become inspired than if you gave a generic inspirational speech.

Example of Team Motivation Quotes

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” ― Michael Jordan.

“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” ― Babe Ruth.

“Individual commitment to a group effort–that is what makes teamwork, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” ― Vince Lombardi.

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is a success.” ― Henry Ford.

How a Team Leader Can Motivate a Team?

A leader can motivate a team by adopting a participative and strength-based approach management style. They can create a conducive environment for inspiration and motivation.

Furthermore, a leader will show your team members how much they appreciate their efforts and put in place a reward system.

How do you Motivate a Team to Improve Performance?

You can improve a team’s performance by following these ten methods.

  1. Communicate your vision and set clear, specific goals.
  2. Promote a clean and healthy work environment.
  3. Provide positive feedback and reward your team.
  4. Provide opportunities for professional and personal development.
  5. Foster teamwork and collaboration.
  6. Make it a point to celebrate every success.
  7. Avoid useless meetings.
  8. Make sure to pay what your talents are worth.
  9. Encourage healthy competition.
  10. Do not punish mistakes or failure.

What do you Say to Motivate Your Team?

You can say positive words of encouragement such as ‘Keep up the good work!’, ‘Hang in there, don’t give up!’ and ‘Let me know if there’s anything that I can support you on’. Remember, the key here is to show your sincerity and the trust you have in them.

How do you keep your team motivated?

Goals are often used to keep teams motivated. When employees realize that their hard work does pay off by achieving goals, they are inclined to continue putting in the effort.

Additionally, you should encourage teamwork in the workplace. Teamwork reminds your employees that their work impacts others as well.

Finally, the most important way to keep a team motivated is by reminding them of why they come to work in the first place. Have them write down their mission and help them realize their work is making that mission a reality.

How do you motivate an unmotivated team?

Unmotivated teams are usually unengaged and have lost interest in their work. You can regain this team’s engagement by adjusting how tasks are assigned. Ensure that tasks are assigned based on strengths and that individual’s goals.

Help your team members achieve their goals so they can use that momentum to continue working hard. Goal achievement helps employees realize their effort does matter and translates to positive results.

What are 10 ways to motivate employees?

Every leader has their own motivational strategies. If you are struggling to find your own, consider the following 10 motivational techniques: recognizing and rewarding accomplishments, adding excitement to work, encouraging further education, adding team building activities, staying positive and encouraging a positive work environment, speaking to employees directly before their shifts, allowing employees to have a balanced work/life experience, giving team members a say in decision making, being transparent, and learning about each employee’s goals.


It is clear that to be successful and stay competitive in the market; your employees are the most important asset. And to keep your employees engaged, motivated and excited to stay and work with you, team motivation is the key.

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