How to Motivate (Plus Tips on Self Motivation and Leadership)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 14 September 2022

Published 6 December 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Motivation is the desire to perform an action. The ability to self-motivate is a valuable skill that can help you become more productive at work and contribute to achieving your career goals. Learning how to motivate yourself and your colleagues can be an important step in getting a leadership role or advancing your career in other ways. In this article, we share 11 tips on how to motivate yourself and team members so that you can accomplish more and be a positive influence in the workplace.

How to motivate yourself and others

Here are 11 ways to find motivation for yourself and motivate others:

1. Set goals

Setting goals and planning actionable steps to achieve these goals helps you focus on an objective and motivate you. Quantify your goals in measurable metrics, such as the number of tasks to complete in a specific timeframe so that you can easily track your goals. The ability to see how your plans are progressing can also encourage you to keep focused and strive towards your goal.

This method works with groups of people, too, such as a work team. If you're a team leader, create a collective goal and steps for each member to complete so that you can reach the goal together. Giving people something to accomplish and providing specific steps to achieve it can motivate them to be productive.

Related: Career Goals: How to Set, Examples and Tips for Achieving

2. Understand your motivations

When trying to motivate yourself, it's helpful to find out what your motivations for performing are. Ask yourself what matters to you and why you take the actions that you do. These motivations can be varied, like earning a livelihood or contributing to the progress of a discipline or industry. When you understand why you want to accomplish something, you can use this to motivate yourself.

If you manage a team, ask them what they feel is important. For example, if your team members have significant projects in their personal life, you may be able to motivate them with work flexibility. To find out what may inspire others, you can conduct a survey, host a meeting or invite them to share with you one on one.

3. Pursue your passion

Seeking a career in a subject or field you enjoy may make it easier to motivate yourself throughout your career. This is because if you pursue your passion, you're more likely to enjoy your work and have a desire to perform your tasks. For example, if you are interested in cinema and storytelling, you may pursue a career as a director of photography and film movies or television. Since you enjoy your craft, it may be easier to find encouragement to accomplish more and spend many years in the same career.

When using a passion for motivating others, you can learn about their personal career goals and encourage them to improve their performance. For example, if a team member has a career goal to start a business, you can give them additional responsibilities to learn more about operating a business. Since starting a business is something they are passionate about, they may find these new tasks more encouraging and work dedicatedly.

Related: Tips on How To Find Your Passion in Your Profession

4. Develop motivational skills

Motivational skills are abilities to encourage yourself or others to achieve a specific result. Positivity, communication and interpersonal skills can all contribute to motivating yourself and your team members. Being a good communicator also enables you to share your goals and understand team members better. Similarly, having interpersonal skills can help build meaningful relationships with your team members. When you can relate to them and establish a relationship, you may understand their motivations and use this knowledge to develop their potential.

Related: How to Self-Motivate at Work (With Steps and Tips)

5. Collaborate with others

Working with others can also bring you inspiration. You can observe how others work and interact with them to get ideas to improve your own work style. Collaborating on projects also gives you more responsibility to complete your work because finishing affects your team members directly. This sense of responsibility may motivate you to strive towards your goal. By working with your team members on tasks, you might also encourage them to be their best. Collective responsibilities and tasks can be an excellent motivator for teams to succeed together.

Related: What Is Collaboration? (With Benefits, Types and Tips)

6. Focus on results

When searching for ways to motivate yourself in the workplace, consider focusing on the end results. These are proof of what you can accomplish and may encourage you to achieve the same results. Prioritising your results may also increase your productivity because this provides you with a clear goal and actionable steps to reach it. Results can motivate your team members too. Recognising past achievements provides confidence that they can reach their goals again.

7. Change the work environment

Your work environment may significantly affect your productivity. For example, a clean and organised desk can limit your distractions while working. It may also help to have a space at work where you can relax for a few minutes, such as an outdoor lunch area or a meditation room. To change the work environment and create a space that is beneficial for your colleagues as well, it may be helpful to host a brainstorming meeting so that everyone can suggest ways to build a motivational workplace.

8. Give time to your mental and physical health

It's important to be mentally and physically healthy to succeed in your job. Being fit may make you feel better and also enables you to focus while at work. You can give time to your mental and physical health by ensuring that you get enough sleep, eat well, have some form of exercise, communicate your feelings and take time to relax. While health is a personal topic, teams can participate in collective activities, like yoga and meditation sessions, or even follow the same regimen.

9. Make a schedule

Create a daily schedule to manage your work tasks and personal plans. This provides you with an easy-to-follow plan and can help you become more productive. Knowing what you have to do and when to do it can help simplify your workday. A schedule is also a visual representation, and the ability to visualise your tasks can be useful, especially if you're a visual learner. Another reason that schedules motivate people is that they help organise tasks and improve time management.

Related: How to Manage Time (With 23 Time Management Tips and Advice)

10. Reward your achievements

Rewards are very effective motivators because they act as an incentive for finishing tasks. For example, if the sales team receives a bonus for making 100 sales, each member may work harder to achieve these results with a promise of a reward upon completion. You can also apply this personally and reward yourself in smaller ways for completing items on your to-do list. This is a good way to motivate yourself throughout the day.

If you manage a team of employees, you can offer them rewards for their achievements. Here are examples of workplace rewards:

  • bonuses

  • public recognition

  • paid time-off

  • gifts and coupons

  • healthy snacks and meal vouchers

  • free team lunches or dinners

  • paid vacations

  • company merchandise

  • salary increment and promotions

Related: Extrinsic Motivation Examples (Definition and Importance)

11. Celebrate achievements with others

It can be helpful to celebrate your achievements with others because this is a way to share knowledge and build professional networks. Learning your technique could motivate your team members to achieve these results. You may also help celebrate the wins of your team members. Giving recognition even for minor accomplishments be very encouraging and influence you and your team members to repeat these results. Consider creating an official recognition program to award and celebrate each other in the workplace. For example, you can have an employee of the month which rewards the highest achieving team member.

Related: What Is Compensation: Types and Examples of Benefits

Types of motivation

There are two common types of motivation, intrinsic and extrinsic. Understanding each type of motivation can help you find better ways to motivate yourself and learn how to motivate your team members. Here are definitions of these types of motivations and examples of each:

Intrinsic motivation

Intrinsic means that behaviour is occurring naturally and can also refer to something essential. Intrinsic motivation is an internal factor that influences your behaviour. When a result or action is personally satisfying, it may become an inherent motivator. Here are examples of such motivators:

  • curiosity

  • enjoyment

  • improvement

  • desires

  • personal and professional goals

  • personal beliefs

  • experience

Related: What Are Intrinsic Rewards and Why Are They Important?

Extrinsic motivation

Extrinsic motivators are usually foreign and external in nature. Extrinsic motivation is a factor that occurs externally from yourself, such as:

  • financial incentive, like bonuses

  • recognition and appreciation

  • awards, like trophies or certificates

  • free products or services in the form of rewards

  • compensation

Read more: What Is Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation? (With Examples)

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