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2 practical strategies to motivate your people

This week, my client asked me a very important question!

She said “Vanessa, what can I do to motivate the people on my team? They seem a bit disengaged lately.”

What motivates people is actually a complex question.

I’m going to answer it in two ways.

First, I’ll explain what science and research indicate.

Then, I’ll share my personal perspective with you.

In his book, Drive, author Daniel Pink describes the science of motivation from the perspective of top-tier economists, sociologists, and psychologists.

He indicates that the top three motivators at work are autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

Here is how you can apply these three motivators:

  • Autonomy means that people want to be self-directed. So, as a leader get out of peoples’ way and let them do their job their way.
  • Mastery means that people want to be improving and growing. So, as a leader, challenge people, give them interesting work and invest in their development.
  • Purpose means that people want to be part of something bigger than themselves. So, as a leader ensure that the people on your team understand why their contribution matters to the overall success of your business. ​​​​​​​

Now here is my perspective based not on research but on thousands of conversations that I have had with real people!

If you want to motivate people: 

  • Be nice. People want to work for people they like. Treat everyone with kindness and respect.
  • Be caring. People want to know that they matter. Give them positive feedback and appreciation for a job well done.
  • Be real. People want to work for transparent leaders. These are people who share their wins, losses, and vulnerabilities in an open way.

So, whether you resonate with Daniel Pink’s research, my “in the trenches” perspective, or perhaps a combination of both, take the time to consider how you can create a motivating environment for your team.

These days, the environment you create as a leader matters…a lot!​​​​​​​

Vanessa Judelman

Vanessa Judelman is an author, coach, and sought-after leadership expert. Over the past 20 years, she has created a proven formula to develop results-oriented leaders who feel empowered and confident in their job. Vanessa is the author of Mastering Leadership: What It Takes to Lead in Today’s Fast-Paced World. Order your copy here.

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