Help your crew realize career goals, have a voice in important decisions and feel valued by managers.


A leader’s primary function is to help employees develop a strong belief in the mission of the company and the importance of their individual jobs. The leader’s secondary function is to ensure optimal results from the tasks given to employees. Excellent results spring from methods of motivation that help employees feel successful and increase their efforts to achieve goals and improve performance.

By motivating each employee to perform at his or her maximum level of efficiency, leaders also maximize their own success. And as leaders motivate their staff, they not only help the company gain financially but also develop personal relationships with their employees.

Much research in behavioral science has focused on the factors contributing to workplace motivation. Many studies indicate the strongest factors are based on individual self-determined needs. Aware of these factors, a manager can foster improvements in employee attitudes, their desire to excel and their feelings of success. Leaders need to apply these methods to effectively stimulate their team as a whole and the individuals within it. Once done, employees will reach peak performance, free from slowdowns and negative influences.

Related: Building the Business: Growing Leaders Takes Time

Methods that are positive motivators for some employees don’t always work for others. Each individual is driven by specific needs that determine his or her performance. If specific needs are not met, it inhibits the employee’s desire to accept new challenges and delegated opportunities.

Below are 14 methods — focusing on individual needs and desires — leaders can use to motivate employees:

  1. Help employees see their dedicated and consistent efforts being a part of advancing their future with the company.
  2. Take time to give employees deserved praise and meaningful recognition. However, use this method in moderation, otherwise it becomes meaningless. Praise must always be specifically related to performance rather than vague comments like “You’re doing OK.”
  3. Provide employees with goal-oriented job descriptions. This method charts a course for them with specific actions they should accomplish to achieve positive results.
  4. Give each employee the opportunity to achieve. Even small tasks can build success. Any taste of achievement is a great motivator.
  5. Aid employees in determining personal goals. Leaders should link these to the overall goals of the company.
  6. Help employees acquire and maintain a spirit of achievement. Careful planning and organization of tasks directed at meaningful results can accomplish this goal.
  7. Help employees set and achieve personal self-improvement goals. These need to be realistic and achievable for individuals to grow and develop skills.
  8. Acknowledge employees’ accomplishments to reinforce that they are valuable and important – a key need for individuals.
  9. Tell employees how and why they are performing valuable work. This means giving them useful feedback about their progress with a focus on personal productivity and how to increase performance.
  10. Listen with interest to employees’ problems, ideas, suggestions and grievances. Even if they seem trivial or irrelevant, these things are important to the employee.
  11. Never neglect or ignore an employee. Failure to provide individual attention is one of the worst mistakes leaders can make in terms of motivating or supervising staff.
  12. Enact a personal commitment to a vision or direction. Effective leaders show employees how to give personal effort and provide consistent performance to align themselves with the company’s vision.
  13. Help employees develop an increased sense of responsibility. Accepting responsibility facilitates feelings of success and a greater sense of self-worth.
  14. Relieve the boredom where possible. This makes work more meaningful for employees and allows them to attain greater job satisfaction. It also builds inward security and fosters self-motivation.

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