Skip to content
× FreshBooks App Logo
FreshBooks
Official App
Free - Google Play
Get it
You're currently on our Australian site. Select your regional site here:
12 Min. Read

How to Motivate People: 11 Simple Ways

How to Motivate People? 11 Simple Ways

Times have changed. It’s not as easy as just throwing orders around and expecting to get results. As a leader, shouting orders at people isn’t an effective way to keep them motivated.

The basis of motivation is rooted in positive emotions. Whether you have just recently been promoted into a leadership role, or you have been in one for a while, peer motivation can be difficult. It can be a challenging and frustrating situation to be in. 

Maybe you have finally found your dream opportunity or have put together your perfect team with stellar people. You have spent the time needed to find the right fit for each role. Each person has an excellent background and a track record of success. 

On paper, this is obviously going to look like a perfect situation. Everything seems as though you’re ready to take your business to the next level. And things started off great. 

But recently, you have been seeing a lack of motivation in your team members and have been trying to find ways to get them back on track. You know that they’re the best. That’s why you hired them in the first place. 

But no matter who you are, there are always going to be times when you feel down and don’t have the same motivation you used to. Being confident in a leadership position means that you can inspire those around you. And if you can help them get their spark back, everybody wins.

The good news is that there are several things that you can do to help foster employee engagement. But where do you start? How do you know what will work and what might not?

Here’s What We’ll Cover:

11 Simple Ways to Motivate People

Key Takeaways 

11 Simple Ways to Motivate People 

Being able to motivate those closest to you is key to your overall success. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be only at work. It can also be at home or with your friends. Everyone needs help sometimes, even the most successful people. And knowing how to effectively engage with those around you can be incredibly important. 

Everything from listening intently and setting achievable goals are great places to start. But everyone is motivated in different ways. So what’s actually going to work? 

Let’s take a look at some of the best and most simple ways for you to motivate those around you. 

1. Start With Asking Questions and Listening Intently 

Sure, a lengthy speech can definitely be motivational. But what happens when you’re done speaking? How much of what you said actually resonated with your audience? Motivation starts from the inside. 

Schedule one-on-one meetings or have casual, candid conversations. If it’s an employee you want to try and motivate, ask what their dreams and goals are. Chances are they’re going to give you answers that you might not have expected. 

Listen to what they say and continue to ask questions. Get to know them on a personal level and truly understand what makes them tick. You can start with questions like, “What are your biggest career goals?” Or, “What makes you excited about doing what you do?”

Not only will they know that you actually care, but getting them to speak openly about what makes them happiest can help them get back on track. They can start to forget about what might be making them feel down. 

2. Figure Out What Motivates Them Most

Think about why you do the things that you do. Is it a drive to become better? A passion for learning? The ultimate goal of becoming successful, whatever that might be? 

Understanding what motivates and drives people to be their best can allow you to help them get there. And if they don’t really know, you can help them find their purpose. Why did they want to work for your business in the first place? 

What are they most passionate about? What are their aspirations, goals and overall interests? A great leader is going to show interest in what motivates their employees or team members. 

Knowing what their purpose is lets you remind them of it. You can then take the proper steps to provide them with what they need. Emotional engagement is critical in figuring out what motivates people. 

3. Provide Praise and Compliments As Often As Possible

You’re not going to be able to keep the best people around you if they don’t know that they’re valued. Everyone, on some level, likes to hear that they have done a good job. It doesn’t have to be anything major or over the top. 

But complimenting people on their good work and praising their good qualities will go a long way. Recognition and praise are incredibly powerful motivators. And several benefits come from praise for everyone involved. 

If you regularly praise your employees for the work that they do, they will provide you with higher loyalty. Plus, their productivity can increase which can translate into higher customer satisfaction. Try and compliment those around you on a weekly basis. 

4. Give Them What They Need

A great leader can’t expect exceptional work without providing the necessary resources. If you provide your employees with what they need and when they need it, they’re more likely to provide better work. 

And if you don’t know what they need, ask. Ask them, “What is that you need to do your job to the best of your ability?” A new workspace might make all the difference in the world. They might need new equipment. Or, they might just need a little more information. 

Plus, asking what they need instead of expecting them to already have it shows that you care. And when your team members or employees know that you care, they’re going to provide the best work possible. 

5. Provide the Resources and Training to Develop New Skills 

This can probably go with number 4, but it deserves its own section. One of the most effective ways to keep the best employees is to foster an environment where they can grow. And you can do this by providing training opportunities where they can learn or develop new skills. 

Try setting up monthly training programs or knowledge sessions. Not only will your employees learn new skills, but it can also give them something to look forward to. Or, you could even bring in industry leaders and experts to speak.

Hearing first-hand accounts of how those who are most successful got to where they are can be powerful motivation. Employees can come back feeling refreshed and have a newfound motivation to be the best that they can be. 

6. Involve Those Around You

Being a great leader and motivating those around you means that it’s a two-way street. It’s difficult for an employee to feel valued if they’re never included in conversations or decision making. By involving them throughout different processes, they become more invested in a positive outcome. 

There are going to be times where decisions have to get made. And obviously, sometimes you are going to make the final call. But hearing different points of view and involving the whole team will make everyone feel included. This will directly contribute to an increased level of motivation. 

7. Believe In Those Around You 

There’s no sense in surrounding yourself with incredible people and team members only not to believe in them. You hired them for a reason. The best leaders are going to delegate and give their employees responsibility. 

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you trust your employees to do their work?
  • Are your employees competent enough to complete their work with confidence? 

Don’t underestimate the overall ability and potential of your employees. It was mentioned above, but they were hired for a reason. Support them and provide opportunities for them to succeed. When they know that you believe in them, they’re more likely to go above and beyond. 

8. Follow Up On the Things That You Say and the Promises that You Make

It’s one thing to say the right things and make certain promises. When you have a one-on-one conversation with an employee and find out their dreams and aspirations, follow up with them. It doesn’t have to be every week, but try and make a conscious effort to continue to engage them.

This way, you can determine if they have made any progress towards their goals. And if they haven’t or they aren’t as close as they hoped, you can help. This can be by providing additional resources or simply having an open conversation. 

Sometime’s employees need to be reminded of why they do what they do. And as a leader, you can help motivate them to become the best they can be. If you say you’re going to do something or make a promise and don’t deliver, it can bring the level of trust down.

Check-in regularly and show that you care. The smallest of conversations can have the biggest of impacts. 

9. Set Achievable Goals

A lot of times, people don’t feel as motivated as they should because they don’t achieve the results that they want. And this can happen if unrealistic goals get set. If a goal isn’t actually attainable, you’re setting yourself up for failure from the start. 

Unrealistic goals become nearly impossible to achieve. Try and focus on setting smaller and more achievable goals with your employees. You can even set small milestones to reach. 

You can do this by setting weekly goals, monthly goals or even just a list of smaller goals to go for. When your employees become focused on the results that they want, they will feel more motivated when they see results. 

10. Provide the Right Incentives 

It might seem like an easy concept to provide an incentive for your employees to do great work. But if you don’t have the right incentive or conduct it in the right way, it won’t be effective. If the right incentives are there, the motivation to achieve them will become higher. 

Think about it like this. A $100 bonus each week for the person who completes their work first can create a toxic environment. Competition can become unhealthy and some employees might even cut corners or provide mediocre work. All for the sake of an extra $100.

Plus, imagine the employees who put in the hard work every single week, only to not get anything in return. It can be deflating and lead to resentment and anger. That’s not good when you want to motivate your employees to be the best that they can be.

Now, if you instead offered a $100 bonus to every employee who completes their work on time, that can contribute to higher motivation. It could even be as little as $10, or something like taking a Friday afternoon off. 

The point is that when you get rewarded with something, no matter how big or small, you feel cared for and energized. Positive reinforcement is critical when it comes to motivation. Implement the right rewards to help drive your employees into taking the right action. 

11. Be Positive 

There’s nothing worse than a leader that is always negative. How are your employees supposed to feel enthusiastic and motivated? They can't do the best work possible if they feel like they’re always doing something wrong. Positive energy radiates to the people around you. 

And when you’re positive as a leader, your employees are going to feel better about their work. They will be happier, more engaged and as motivated as possible. Everything starts at the top. 

Being positive comes with setting a good example. And if you don’t feel motivated or positive yourself, how can you expect your employees to? Be the first one in and the last to leave. 

Ask your employees questions and get their input on everything that you can. Ultimately, you might have the final say in certain situations. But taking the time to engage with your employees sets a positive example. 

They can feel more comfortable coming to you for help or asking questions that they might not know the answer to. When you’re positive and set a good example, your employees will become more motivated. 

Key Takeaways 

At its core, motivating people starts with emotions. And even though there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to motivation, you can use the tips above to get started. Every situation is going to be unique and some employees can get motivated in different ways 

The best thing that you can do to start is to ask questions and listen. And you can do it in any way that works best, such as having a cup of coffee together. From here, you can get a better sense as to what your employees need and how you can give it to them. Not only will they feel wanted and valued, but they will become more motivated. 

When your employees become motivated they’re more likely to provide better quality work. Plus, they will enjoy doing their work and not feel as though it’s a constant challenge. This is only going to benefit everyone involved. 

Did you enjoy reading this guide? Head over to our resource hub for more great content!


RELATED ARTICLES