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You, as the motivating Manager

20th March 2021

‘If you can wake up every morning loving what you do, help and inspire others around you to be better than they were yesterday. Then you know you’re doing something right in business and in life.’ – Ashley Bodi

Motivation is what makes a person do something, and what makes them put real effort and energy in to actually doing it. Motivation varies in nature and intensity from one person to another, depending upon the particular mixture of influences around them at any given moment.

But what is the importance of motivation?

Motivation is vital for an individual to give their best. Assuming that employees are given the opportunity to deliver good performance and have the necessary skills, then effectiveness depends on their motivation.

P = (A x M)       Performance is as a result of Ability x Motivation

It is clearly the role of the manager to motivate their team. The manager is best placed to create the conditions in which people will grow, develop and meet their potential.

The most important thing to keep in mind about motivation is that we cannot motivate others. Motivation comes from within – people motivate themselves.

The only thing a manager can do is create the conditions for success – where people feel they want to motivate themselves.

Here are 6 principles for motivating others…

  1. Positive thoughts motivate. Recall the teacher, friend, boss or parent who motivated you to do well by telling you that you could succeed.
  1. Enjoyment motivates. Maybe you can recollect the sheer enjoyment that came from an activity, something you did on your own or with others. You were motivated to succeed and you did.
  1. Feeling important motivates. Thinking back, can you recall a time when your opinions were sought? Your ideas were important. People listened to you. You were motivated because your views counted.
  1. Success motivates. For many people, motivation occurs when they do something well – and this is recognised. They feel part of something that is worthwhile and therefore work hard to ensure continued success.
  1. Personal benefits motivate. Another source of motivation is the WIIFM factor – what’s in it for me? When employees see how they can benefit personally, they become motivated and tune-in.
  1. Clarity motivates. This final principle is best understood if you think of a situation in which you were not motivated. Chances are that the task you were due to complete was unclear. Instructions were ambiguous. Flip this over and you get to the sixth key principle of motivation.

But how as a manager can you put the 6 principles to work?

‘In motivating people, you’ve got to engage their minds and their hearts. I motivate people, I hope, by example – and perhaps by excitement, by having productive ideas to make others feel involved’ – Rupert Murdoch

Here’s just a few ideas:

Positive thoughts

When your team achieves its goals, advertise their success. Thank individuals for their part. Show you really believe in them as people. Build a ‘can-do’ mentality. Focus your people on proposing solutions rather than simply finding problems.


Find out what type of work your people like to do/feel they do best and whenever possible, let them do the things they enjoy. Aim for everyone to be able to do something they enjoy at least once a day.

Feeling important

Ask people for their opinions. Listen intently to what they say. Consider their thoughts carefully. Give credit when you use someone’s idea.


Catch your people doing things right! What gets rewarded gets repeated. Make certain that your people know how important their unique contribution is to both you and their team.

Personal benefits

Identify and state how individuals can personally gain from an activity – but be realistic and honest. Find their motivational ‘hot spots’.


Set SMART goals with your people. Communicate clearly and check for understanding – never assume. Be specific. Create an environment where asking for more information is not seen as a sign of weakness.

‘Truly remarkable leadership is not just about motivating others to follow, it’s about inspiring them to become leaders themselves and setting the stage for even greater opportunities for future generations’ – Condoleezza Rice