Motivating Your Team: A Variety of Strategies

Throughout my career as a marketing executive, I always found that motivating my team was the most difficult part of my job. It never seemed to matter whether I used a carrot or a stick approach, how many rewards or punishments I instituted in an attempt to change behavior, everything just seemed unpredictable. What was even more frustrating is when I would eventually learn that there were several different strategies for motivating various people groups and it was only with the hindsight afforded by experience did it dawn on me what they were all meant for.

Luckily for you, we’ve put together this list of ten strategies from Noodletalk you can implement today in order to have better luck with your team tomorrow.

1. Make them an offer they can’t refuse.

More than likely, your team is not going to feel like working the next day if they have a lot of money on the line for what they do today. This is one of the oldest and most obvious strategies known to man but it has withstood the test of time because it works! You should consider instituting a bonus payment structure where you pay out a set amount each month or year for increased productivity, customer satisfaction, or whatever you need to motivate your team. You will be surprised at how well this strategy works when everyone knows that their paycheck depends upon it.

2. It’s not what you say but how you say it.

Many people are led to believe that you can motivate your team with positive reinforcement. The truth is, positive reinforcement is great for baby animals, not so much for grown men and women. Studies have shown that when we are rewarded for something, we undervalue it in our own mind; we see it as a given and stop giving it proper respect. If you want to reward someone, do so in the form of a surprise or incentive, something that puts their mind on alert and gives them something special to look forward to.

3. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Related to the above, if you want to create a sense of urgency about something, then you should consider using visual prompts as opposed to just verbal ones. Think about it, what do you remember from most of your classes in school? The answer is the curve, the stripe on your test, and those things that were actually visible to you.

4. Ask them what they want.

If you have someone who is not motivated by money or time alone, they may be motivated by other things such as more responsibility or a chance to work hands-on with customers. However, you can’t know what that might be unless you ask them. You may be surprised by the answer they give and how motivated they become after they are able to see where their contributions go and what influence they have over the outcome.

5. They need to know that it’s not always about profits.

If you really want your team to feel motivated, then you need to give them a sense of purpose beyond just making money; there has to be something that drives them or something greater than themselves for which they can sacrifice their time for. All too often, we see companies that use their staff as cheap labor in order to maximize profits and this not only hurts their outlook but it also hurts the company’s long-term viability. If your team truly believes they are a part of something larger than themselves, they will be motivated to give it their all.

6. Give them the tools they need.

Have your staff gone through training? Some employees are naturally motivated while others may have to have a sense of direction given to them before they can even begin working toward any specific goal or objective. Regardless of how your staff was originally motivated, giving them the tools they need to succeed will only help them to become more self-reliant.

7. Make it a supply and demand situation.

It’s important to give your team the tools that they need lest you find yourself having to fire people who are not able to provide for themselves from day one. However, we do have to consider that if you want someone on your team who has a supply side mentality, they may eventually find themselves in a situation where there are too many employees competing for too few jobs or the opposite scenario where there is only one job available but lots of people bidding on it. To combat this, find a way to offer your team the sense that they are in demand.

8. Encourage competition between themselves.

You may have heard that competition is good for your team but what you may not have considered is how it would directly impact their abilities to work together as a team. When you introduce competition into the mix, people will naturally begin to focus on themselves and what they can do for themselves, which means it will be harder for them to look out for each other and create a united effort toward any goal or objective.

9. Give them room to grow.

One of the most fundamental motivators in the world is to give people the opportunity to learn something new and become better at what they do every day. Don’t be afraid to hire experienced people over inexperienced employees because they may not have all of the skills you are looking for but, in time, you can teach them everything that you need them to know. One thing is true, however: everyone likes a challenge.

10. Trust your gut instinct.

At the end of the day, you have to trust your instincts and let them guide you; this is something we all do instinctively. You just have to be aware that everyone has a different way of doing things and some people may require a bit more assistance, while others might just prefer doing things their own way.

In the end, there will be times when you will feel as though you need to push your team a little harder or give them more direction than they may normally need but ultimately, it all comes down to how well motivated they are.