How to Motivate a Team

Three Parts:Making Your Team ExcitedMaking Your Team Feel RecognizedBeing a Good Leader

When your team is motivated to do a better job, the work will be easier, more fun, and more dynamic. In order to motivate your team to succeed, you have to be a strong leader and to give people both individual attention and to recognize them as a team. Whether you're the CEO of a company or the captain of your tennis team, there are many things you can do to get the people around you motivated and excited to face the next challenge. If you want to start motivating your team today, head over to Step 1 to get going.

Part 1
Making Your Team Excited

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    Discuss the benefits of success. If you want your team to be motivated, then you have to explain the positive outcomes of achieving the objective. By incorporating this team motivating step, you are putting the control over their future compensation or other rewards into their own hands. Your team should see how their success would benefit not only the company, but also each individual team member. If you really want to motivate them, then you have to make your goals as concrete as possible so they can feel a tangible reward.
    • For example, saying "We have to work harder so the company looks better" won't motivate employees as much as saying, "If we improve our sales by 10%, then we'll make enough revenue to give out Christmas bonuses this year."
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    Keep your team interested. Build a sense of curiosity within your team members' mindsets so that that they are interested enough to want to achieve the goals you expect. By doing this, your team members will want to learn more. This can be achieved if you understand what excites or interests your team members. Get to know what matters most to the members as a team and as individuals. If you keep things interesting and exciting by mentioning concrete goals, changes, and improvements, they will want to keep working.
    • Don't just tell your team members what to do. Keep them interested and up-to-date on as much of the company process as you can so that they care about what's happening and have questions about the process.
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    Set realistic goals. Know what your team is capable of and set a goal that they can actually reach. It's good to be ambitious when setting goals, but if you make them so challenging that your team is destined to fail, then everyone will only feel discouraged. Establish a realistic goal and provide a tool that shows their progress as they get closer to attaining that goal. Setting micro-goals along the way is also a great way to ensure success, so your team doesn't feel like it's all or nothing.
    • For example, if you have a project that needs completing, create a chart that breaks that project into smaller goals so that, as they achieve each step, they can check it off and visualize themselves getting closer to completing the project.
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    Create some friendly competition. Create a competitive environment that will inspire your team members to achieve their goals. Have small competitions with tangible rewards, even if it's just a free lunch, to get people excited about working their hardest. This can help your team exceed its own expectations, as long as you make the guidelines clear and make sure that people are getting along.
    • For example, break your team up into smaller teams and have them each be responsible for an aspect of the complete goal. Introduce an incentive that will inspire them, but make it a friendly competition and not one that brings about hostility and back stabbing.
    • Make sure you know your team members well enough individually first to see that this won't make people turn on each other.
    • A great way to get team members to know each other is to create mini-teams of people who don't know each other so well.
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    Put your team members in control of their own destiny when instilling team motivation. You can have an objective that needs to be met, but passing that sense of control over each of your team members will give them the feeling that achieving the goal is something they want done. If they just feel like you're barking orders at them and that they're checking them off one by one, then they'll feel like they have no initiative or control over the situation.
    • One way to make team members feel like they're more in control is to let them to contribute to the company's objectives when it's necessary. Though they may not always be qualified to give feedback, any time you ask for suggestions or for their insight, they will be grateful for it and will feel more eager to contribute.
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    Design a tool for recognition when motivating your team. By doing this, team members know that their individual efforts will be noticed and not lost as a team effort. This will inspire all members to do their share. If members know that they will only be rewarded and recognized as a team, they may be more inclined to hide behind the efforts of others. This, in turn, may cause resentment amongst those who did all the work.
    • Take the time to check in individually with all of the members of the team so that they know that you recognize their strengths and are there to help them through their weaknesses. They'll also feel like you care enough to take the time to address each person individually.

Part 2
Making Your Team Feel Recognized

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    Get the team members to work together. Establish a plan of action that requires cooperation between team members so that they are forced to work together to achieve that goal. If every team member is just working individually, then there may not be as much team unity or cohesiveness. No individual can make the team succeed, and optimal success comes from having all of the members of the team work together as well as they possibly can.
    • Find what strengths and weaknesses the members of the team have, and find a way to have people with different talents working together and helping each other.
    • Try to mix it up. Don't always have the same people working together just because they like each other the most or are the most comfortable with each other. If two people don't know each other that well, try pairing them together to improve overall teamwork.
    • If two people really don't get along, try to resolve the issue by meeting together. Don't think you can resolve the issue just by keeping them apart forever.
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    Get to know each member of your team. Getting to know each member of the team and having an idea of what makes each person tick can go a long way in helping you motivate the team. If you have a sense of each person individually, you can see that some people are more visual learners, some are better at accepting criticism than others, some are born leaders, and that others work best under the guidance of more experienced team members. Taking the time to see each person as an individual will really make a difference in the team efforts you'll see.
    • It may be impossible for you to get to know each and every person, if the size of your team is pretty large or if you are simply just too busy. Still, you must do the best you can, even if it means you get to know members of the team in small groups.
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    Recognize the members of your team. If it's somebody's birthday, or someone just got married or had a baby, make them feel special. Send an email. Bring in a cake. Give him or her a silly card -- do whatever is appropriate for the occasion, as long as you are respecting that person's privacy. It's important to make each member of the team feel important and like they are wanted and needed.
    • Recognizing members of your team for successes within the job can work, too, as long as it doesn't encourage too much competition.
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    Be friendly…but not too friendly. It's important to be on friendly terms with your team members, to make small talk, and to make them feel wanted and cared for, but you don't want to cross too far over that line. If you end up being BFF with your team members, then chances are that they won't listen to you or take you as seriously as they would if you maintained a respectable distance from them.
    • This is a delicate balance to achieve. You want your team members to feel comfortable talking to you and create open lines of communication, but not make them feel so comfortable that they start feeling like it's okay if they slack off or show up late to work because you're such a cool boss.
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    Create social events outside of work. Motivate your team by not having everything be all about work, work, work. Have monthly happy hours to have the members of your team relax a bit. Have a Sunday softball league with interested team members. Have everyone in the team go out for lunch together every two weeks instead of everyone going their separate ways so people are more motivated to work hard because they'll know each other better.
    • You shouldn't guilt or force busy members of the team to attend the social events, of course. If you make them sound as appealing as possible, though, then people will naturally want to come along.

Part 3
Being a Good Leader

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    Create a comfortable environment. If things in the office are tense, impersonal, cold, and unfriendly, then yeah, your employees won't be as motivated as they would if they walk into the office feeling happy, safe, and warm. Okay, so some people will never love walking in to work, but you can do your best to make them like the experience as much as possible. Have treats at the office, windows that offer lots of sunlight, and a friendly, casual atmosphere where people feel comfortable.
    • Encourage communication in person, instead of over chat or email. Get people walking around and talking to each other. Sure, this may be 10% less efficient, but the morale boost it gives will be worth it.
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    Be specific. If your team is doing really well, don't just say, "Great job! You've worked hard!" Let them know that you really care by citing specific examples of how the team worked hard. Say something like, "You've done fantastic work with the latest fundraising campaign. Donations went up 30% from last year," or "Your group report was direct, helpful, and even entertaining, at times. I especially loved the chart on page 3 -- it really drove the point home." This kind of talk makes your team feel like you acknowledge their hard work.
    • Along the same vein, it's important to be specific when you give criticism, too. Instead of saying, "You need to work harder," say something like, "This team needs to work on producing more monthly reports. If you wrote just one more report a week, productivity would really soar."
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    Keep things fresh and exciting. Though your job and your team's job may be pretty straightforward, try to mix things up as much as you can. Even if your team's job is really to write reports all day, see if you can find a way to be a bit more creative so they are not doing the same old thing every day, and so that they stay motivated and excited to be there. No matter what the task is, if your team members are doing the same thing 8 hours a day, every day, they are bound to get bored and to lose motivation.
    • It can be important to mix things up for at least a few hours a week. Even if it lowers productivity a bit, it can make people happier, which can lead to more productivity.
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    Stay positive. Maintain a positive outlook and a positive attitude as much as you can. Even if things aren't going well, keep your head up as much as you can, because positive -- and negative -- attitudes can be very contagious. If you keep up a positive attitude, the members of your team are sure to follow, and they will be more motivated for it. If everyone is down in the dumps, then they are guaranteed to get less work done.
    • If your team members feel that everything is hopeless, why would they work?
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    Be a good role model. If you really want to motivate your team, then you have to be a good role model and someone that each individual team member can look up to. You don't have to be perfect, but you should be hard working, reasonable, willing to communicate, and generally a smart, reliable employee. If you're not demonstrating the very traits you want your team to embody, then why would they follow suit?
    • Treat your employees with kindness and respect. Set a baseline of good behavior.
    • If you've made mistakes, don't try to cover them up. Instead, own up to them and move forward. Your team will respect you for it.

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