You have just received a big corporate promotion. Along with the corner office, personal parking space, and company credit card, you have inherited a team of talented, hardworking people who you have never met before and you are instantly responsible for their outcomes as well as your own. You don’t have time to micromanage or hold their hand through every single task nor shape their attitudes to automatically  perform the way you want them to. With these workplace elements before you, how do you as the leader motivate the team to yield positive results?

Leadership is the ability to get a person to do, what you want them to do, when you want it done, in the way you want it done because he/she wants to. You must create a culture where the people who you lead want to return positive results for the team?

Here are 5 questions you should ask yourself when trying to motivate people to “want to” succeed.


1.  What Motivates People: Motivation is not a one-time event, but an ongoing process that must continue until the completion of a project, assignment, or endeavor. To be a great motivator of people, you have to be a great student of human nature and uncover why people do what they do and create an environment that influences positive responses.

2. What Demotivates People: Conventional management practices might lead one to believe that tactics such as fear or intimidation will lead to successful results (slave driver mentality). Leaders must understand that fear tactics will never lead to produce lasting results. People move away from anything that is a threat. Consequently, fear destroys and hinders communication, risk-taking, and creativity.

3. What do people respond to?: There are many positive behaviors and opportunities that people respond to in a work environment. These include:

  • Learning: Followers like to learn something new or valuable that can increase their personal knowledge or impact their personal growth or advancement.

  • Energy: People love to work for leaders who are enthusiastic about projects (even if they are challenging), people who are committed in helping others succeed, and have positive attitudes (even when things are not going according to plan).

  • Challenges: Give people task that stretch them to think on another level.

  • Interest/Reward: Allow followers to work on task they enjoy  doing or have an interest in.

  • Values: Understand what people hold dear or consider important (i.e. Family, Time, Structure, and Connection).

4. What do your followers need? What psychological needs do your followers have that you can meet as their leader?

  • Affiliation – Being a part of the team.

  • Autonomy – Needing to have some amount of choices or freedom.

  • Competence – Need to feel effective, growth, and mastery in a task or skill.

  • Achievement – Need to accomplish tasks and achieve targets and goals.

  • Purpose – The need to do what one is called to do.

  • Service – The need to help others or make a difference.

  • Authority – Having the power to utilize their own influence (abilities and talents).

5. What makes people feel important?

  • Acceptance – People want to be a part of a group.

  • Respect – What one has to offer regarding skills and experiences.

  • Contribution – Knowing what I offer or the work I do will make a difference.

  • Recognition – Being given credit for my work.

  • Attention – Notice me as a unique person with needs apart from my work responsibilities.


Leadership Matters Vol. 1-2

People Skills Matter