Motivation is the driving force behind life-enhancing change. It comes from knowing exactly what you want to do and having an insatiable, burning desire to do what’s necessary to get it. It keeps your dream on track as it is the power of motivation that keeps you going when the going gets tough. Good pay, bonuses and rewards play an important role in motivation, but their effects can be short-term, there’s much more to consider.

Most of us know people who left good-paying jobs because they didn’t feel fulfilled. We also know people who turned down offers of better-paying employment because those jobs just didn’t provide the kind of work satisfaction they are after.

As individuals, we each have our own personalities. It is a leader’s job to eliminate these individuals’ differences and mold unite the people together to work as a team. Remember money alone doesn’t guarantee motivations.


Two Types of Motivators

There are two categories of motivation; Extrinsic and Intrinsic motivators.

  • Extrinsic motivation is useful in helping a person initially to get on a task when he does not feel intrinsically motivated to do so such as salaries, bonuses, material rewards and other benefits. However, the excessive use of external motivation might have detrimental effects. This has been shown in research or experiments that examine the effects of external reward on an internally motivated task.


  • Intrinsic motivators. Internal motivation in performing a task occurs when the task in itself is experienced as rewarding and there is no need for any external reward before it is performed. Examples are the love of the task, self-satisfaction, sense of achievement, relaxation purpose. For years of management experience, I have the opportunity to learn, discuss and hear staffs & colleagues about what drives them to be more productive – these are the top motivators: Competence, Autonomy, Purpose, and Growth.


If you are reading this far, I assumed you wanted to build your competence and grow. I believe your purpose is to make a real difference as a leader. You can do this – with autonomy to do it however you wanted. Let me help you with some insights and tips that really matters.


Praise  & Thanks

Always thank employees for their efforts – they look to senior management for guidance and ways to act, and they’ll start getting less interested in their work if their efforts continually go unnoticed. A genuine, heartfelt “thank you” can go a long way to leave a more lasting impression and foster more respect. Supplement this with perks and special gifts, and never fail to praise employees who do their jobs well. Praise them publicly, and be specific about what you’re praising. It’s very motivating for someone to hear what he does well, and he will keep doing it.

Be prepared that all employees make mistakes, as do all managers, and apologize readily for yours. There is no such thing as a perfect person, so if someone never makes mistakes, they probably aren’t trying anything new and creative. They are just passing the time. The only thing they’re looking forward to is collecting a paycheck for a status quo performance. Creative, innovative employees aren’t afraid to try new things and aren’t phased when they don’t work. When they make a mistake, make sure they apologize, and move on. The same goes for you as their manager. If you insist you are never wrong, they will start to think that about themselves too.

Care about your staff, the company’s goals and mission, and communicate them actively. Let your caring show through your work.


Constructive criticism

When your employees make a mistake and apologize for it, accept their apology and forgive them. Offer constructive criticism. Avoiding blaming or attributing mistakes to personal characteristics, like, “You’re always so distracted”. Your employees are people, just like you. Treat their mistakes the way you want yours to be treated. Be as helpful as possible. When an employee comes to you for help, do what you can to accommodate that request and follow up with them. If you make a promise, keep it – otherwise they will begin to feel resentful.



If you don’t like the way something was done, let the person know and tell them what to improve to avoid this happening again in the future. If you just fix the problem and say nothing, they won’t learn anything new and issues will continue to surface.    


Leadership Opportunities

To provide much-needed leadership opportunities, delegate more than just work to your staff. As their boss, you’ll have to delegate work in every event, but take care to make sure that’s not the only thing you’re offering – for instance, when you need to step out of a meeting, ask a staff member to lead it. Deputize more eyes and voices – they’ll thank you for it.



If your staff is serious about their work, they will want to improve in their field. In fact, most employees rate promotion and training opportunities as highly important career benefits, especially course specific to their jobs. The best part about providing opportunities for professional growth and promoting people is that it is mutually beneficial – staff feels more competent, and managers get more competent employees. Offer your staff ways to hone their skills and knowledge, such as conferences, online courses, mentoring programs or tuition reimbursement.



“Big ideas developed in a vacuum are doomed from the start. Feedback is the essential tool for building and growing a successful company” – Jay Samit


Performance of your staff

Show your staff how much you appreciate their efforts. If they put together a report perfectly, let them know. If they made a good sale, let them know. If they handled a call exceptionally well – you guessed it, let them know. Staff needs to know if and when they are performing well. This will ensure continued high-quality work in the future, and they will be more satisfied with their work.

Make a habit of sitting down with your team and having one-on-one conversations. Small talk needn’t be avoided. Hold these talks in your office, in the break room or even somewhere outside. Make an effort to get to know your team on a deeper, personal level. Ask about what’s going on with their lives in general, families, etc. to show that you care about them as people. This will facilitate a friendlier and more productive workplace environment and help you develop and grow as a leader. Almost 70% of respondents in international studies on job satisfaction confirm that their boss had some kind of impact on their career—make sure you have a positive one.


Goals for each person

“Successful people maintain a positive focus in life no matter what is going on around them. They stay focused on their past successes rather than their past failures, and on the next action steps they need to take to get them closer to the fulfillment of their goals rather than all the other distractions that life presents to them” – Jack Canfield


Know their aspirations  

When you speak about your staff’s motivation drivers, keep a handy note-book, jot down feedback observations and discuss them as soon as possible. This may seem trite, but demonstrates if the person works well or could do better. If there’s something negative you need to comment, however, do not do so publicly and embarrass the person in front of the whole team.


The open-door policy

A simple gesture such as leaving your office door open can do wonders to communicate the fact that you want your employees to know their opinions are valued.  The open-door policy shows staff that you care about what they think and you are making it possible for them to give their input and play an active role in your company.

There is potential danger though and as a leader try to focus and evaluate those coming and why not. Since some staffs stroll right into your office to chat, you might jump into conclusion that your policy is working when it’s really not effective.

In reality to some staffs, the open-door mantra is a myth. Good employees feel shut out. Those who didn’t visit you accused they are just barely stubborn. Some also view it as you are favoring only those who frequently chat with you. It’s a trust buster you don’t want and it’s your challenge to fix.

As a leader, as their boss, your deep results aren’t about getting but giving, not about doing but becoming, not about material accumulation but about self-enrichment and the enrichment of human relationships. When thinking about getting results in your career, think too of the deep results you should bring on.

Good Luck!


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