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5 Vital Elements to Team Motivation

Teams don’t function well without teamwork, and you can only achieve teamwork if the team members are properly motivated. However, motivation doesn’t happen by chance. It’s something you have to actively cultivate and nurture. Using these five important elements can help you motivate your team successfully.


Identify Team Goals and Objectives

There’s an old saying that goes something like, “how can you know if you’ve arrived at your destination if you don’t know where you’re going from the start?” Whether you’re overseeing a team on a limited-time project or supervising an entire department on a daily basis, teams function best when they understand and work toward common goals using well-defined objectives.

Many people use the words ‘goal’ and ‘objective’ interchangeably. However, it’s important to understand the difference between these two terms. Simply put, goals are the long-term intentions of your team, such as installing a new computer system, while objectives are the more precise steps you take to reach your goal.

One the best ways to define objectives is by using the SMART tool. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. If you and your team develop team objectives that are SMART, you’ll find them easier to track and achieve, and team motivation will improve.


Provide the Team with the Proper Challenges

When you don’t challenge team members, they often go through their workday like zombies. They don’t feel they get to utilise their skills fully. The work they do doesn’t excite them.

While you don’t want to place team members into situations beyond their scope of understanding or abilities, you should raise the bar sufficiently to encourage them to stretch themselves. Successfully challenging team members improves their self-confidence, increases their loyalty and commitment to the organisation and team, and forces them to take ownership of their work.


Empower Team Members

When you empower team members, you make them responsible and accountable for their choices and actions. If team members have to run to you with every decision, it slows productivity and impedes their ability to learn and grow.

Yes, empowerment can be risky. There may be mistakes, especially at first. However, by coaching and encouraging team members to work together, ask questions, consider different views and options, and solve problems collectively, they improve individually and as a team.  


Offer Regular and Appropriate Team Feedback

If you have ever punished your dog long after he made a mistake, you likely found that he didn’t learn from the experience. The same is true for the human animal. Feedback is a powerful tool only when it is clear, consistent, and timely.

Feedback is a response to how someone is doing in their effort to reach their goal. It isn’t advice on how to reach that goal. After all, you want team members to learn and grow. However, it’s important to acknowledge when something goes wrong, such as a missed deadline or an improper conclusion.

Providing clear feedback, in a consistent manner, and doing it when an issue occurs, can go a long way in keeping your team motivated.


Reward Team Members Appropriately

The same rewards don’t motivate everyone. Some people like money, some like public recognition, and others are happy when they contribute to the greater good. When you consider how to reward your team, consider how these ten factors may play a role in each team member’s motivation:

  • Autonomy. A sense of control over work and the chance to make independent choices.
  • Contribution. Making a difference, helping others, and acting for the good of society.  
  • Creativity. Thinking outside the box, developing new ideas or concepts, and innovation.
  • Expertise. Gaining knowledge and experience or being the “go to” person.
  • Integration. Successfully blending career and personal interests in order to create balance.
  • Leadership.Taking responsibility for the results, coaching, developing, training, and/or mentoring others.
  • Opportunity. Learning, raising the bar, taking on new challenges.
  • Recognition. Acknowledgment of a job well done with financial and non-financial rewards.
  • Relationships. Working in teams, socialising, and customer interaction.
  • Success. “Running the show,” making things happen, extreme financial gain and/or status.

Team motivation isn’t about a single factor. Team motivation is more complicated and requires you to consider several components. Using these give elements in order to motivate your team can go a long way in helping your team to work together successfully.

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5 Vital Elements to Team Motivation




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