James Hyndman

Motivating teams: The right and best way to do it


As a leader, knowing how to motivate the people who are following you is crucial to productivity, efficiency and all-around work performance, including attitude and sense of personal responsibility. When you have entire teams of people working under you, you must not only motivate them all individually, but guide their cohesion as a team as well.

1. Appreciate Their Efforts

A 10-year study of more than 200,000 employees revealed that 4 out of 5 employees who quit their jobs cited a lack of appreciation as a key reason. Make a point of recognising peoples’ hard work, both as solo workers and as part of a larger team. If one person carried the team, single them out for extra praise now, and then work on motivating more equal contributions from the rest of the team members so the burden isn’t skewed next time around. Add a tangible reward tied to specific goals as well: If a team comes in days ahead of schedule or well under budget on a joint project, consider sharing the time and costs saved by providing paid time off so they can personally reap the benefits of excelling.

It's important to recognise peoples' hard work, both as solo workers and as part of a larger team. It’s important to recognise peoples’ hard work, both as solo workers and as part of a larger team.

2. Show Long-Term Benefits

A team made up of people who don’t know if they’ll be employed by their firm a month from now is shaky at best. By building strong teams of individuals who are focused on their career and incentivised to remain at your company, you promote bonding between team members and motivate them to work even better together to accomplish joint goals. Make sure they know they are valued both individually and as part of the group, and provide information about the potential for advancement to help them see the big picture when it comes to their future.

3. Operate Transparently

Don’t dramatise or play up deadlines to spur faster work. Instead, be open and honest about when tasks need to be completed, and show appreciation if things are done in advance. Saying you need something by Friday morning and forcing a team member to sacrifice time with family by working late will backfire if they then find you didn’t actually need the report until Friday afternoon. If you really do need someone to work overtime to accomplish an urgent task, recognise their sacrifice and try to find ways of alleviating rush requests by being proactive. Being radically transparent can help your employees buy into the cause.

Be transparent about your goals and timelines to provide full transparency for your teams. Be transparent about your goals and timelines to provide full transparency for your teams.

By setting an example of honesty, open communication, hard work and commitment, you can motivate your teams to new heights. Show your employees how tasks are done and work alongside the team to achieve them, avoiding executive isolation. In time, they will be able to motivate themselves and each other, and your entire organisation will benefit.