Secrets to Motivating Employees

Mac McCormickUncategorized

Secrets to Motivating Employees

by Amber Kossak

Being part of a highly motivated team can be one of the most exhilarating experiences in one’s career. Employees who work on a good team know they’re part of something special.

What are the characteristics of a motivated team? On a motivated team, everyone knows the company mission and feels energized by knowing they are part of making something good happen. They carry their weight not because they fear the whip, but because they don’t want to let the team down. There is a direct connection between engagement and results. Engaged employees are more productive and those in the service sector generate higher customer ratings with everyone working together.

How to Build a Motivated Team

I don’t believe there’s any magic ingredient for building a motivated team. People sometimes talk about the secrets of success for business leaders, but these are not secrets. They are common things we all know, however, there is a difference between knowing what you should do and doing it.

Many are things we may already be doing. On the other hand, these might be things we have to remind ourselves of again, and again.  These reminders are especially important at times like what we’re experiencing today. With many of us on edge due to added stress it might be more difficult to motivate others but even more important.

Be Kind

Show empathy and be sincere with it. Everything we are discussing today is important, but this is one of the most important. We display our kindness when we talk to each other, when we send an email, a text message, and when we listen.  People work harder when they know you care about them. Most business owners and managers probably do care about their employees, but do we show it? People need to feel affirmed. The kindness you show will have a ripple effect through your people.

I find it interesting that research has shown the benefits of kindness are even greater for the giver than the receiver. We have all heard the saying “there is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving” well when we are kind to others it makes them happy, in turn, it makes us happier. This applies as much to employee relations as to great customer service. When we give, we get.

Nothing shows caring more than listening.   Active listening is an important leadership skill. When we are sincerely listening, it means we are giving intentional, undivided attention. In a busy world with a million distractions, listening requires a deliberate focus to hear and comprehend what another person is communicating.  This means more than hearing the words, we want to help.

Perception to the individual you listen to is that you care, and you understand them, building an open door where walls may have previously been.


Real communication is a two-way street. Among other things, employees need to be kept in the loop with regards to what is going on and where the company is going so they feel involved.

When you communicate, communicate clearly.  It may be positive or negative, but everyone needs communication.  People need to understand where they stand, what areas can they grow in, if they are not doing a job correctly, remember they cannot read minds.  There will be things you should commend them on, do not hold back from showing appreciation. When you feel it, express it. Thank them, congratulate them on doing a good job, and make sure they know you value them.  Remember when you give, you get.   

Follow Through 

When you are listening, you might be compelled to make a promise because you want to help. STOP!  Do not over-promise and fail to deliver. Nothing kills motivation more than the loss of respect that occurs when leaders only “say” the right things but fail to do them.  When you are communicating make sure you are communicating clearly, make sure they understand your goals and timeline.  Your follow-through timeline might be different than what they are thinking.  There is no secret to being a kind person, communicating well, and following through with your commitments.  There is only effort on our part in “Making It Happen”.  A motivated winning team is created by good leadership. They don’t just happen.  Leadership doesn’t simply mean casting the vision and cheerleading. If Humility, wisdom, and integrity are all part of what we give, you will be amazed at what you will get.