Motivating the Team

When deciding how to motivate your team members to move in a certain direction, you need to consider the three components of motivation:

Not everyone is motivated in the same way. Different team members are likely to be motivated by different things. You need to understand what these things are, and how you can help to make them happen. Observe team members’ behaviour. Communicate regularly with them. Ask what it is that drives them and how you can support them to achieve their targets. Good communication and clear understanding is crucial to high levels of team motivation.

Types of Motivation

There are two types of motivation:

Extrinsic motivators can have an instant and significant effect but may not be long-lasting, whereas intrinsic motivators are within the individual, rather than applied from outside, and may therefore have a deeper, lasting effect.

Self Determination Theory

People are thought to have an innate drive to be autonomous, self-determined and connected to one another. According to Pink (2010), leaders need to create an environment that releases these drives, enhancing people’s intrinsic motivation and helping them to achieve more through:

What is Engagement?

Engagement refers to team members’ psychological connection with their work. It has been a subject of significant recent interest because, as organisations try to achieve more output with less people, harnessing employees’ psychological capabilities becomes important for getting the best from their efforts. There is considerable debate over the nature of engagement, its link with performance and its usefulness in the workplace.

Schaufeli (2013) defines work engagement as “...a unique positive, fulfilling, work-related state of mind that is characterized by vigor, dedication, and absorption”.

Some believe that engagement at work is a good thing, reflecting the high internal motivation of employees for whom working is fun and, even after long periods of intensely hard work when they feel exceedingly tired, they often describe the feeling as pleasant as it is associated with achieving successful, worthwhile results.

Others are less convinced about the link between employee engagement and work performance, suggesting that a person can be highly motivated without necessarily feeling attached to the organisation.  Or, even though they may feel engaged in their work, this engagement may not lead to better performance if it is not focused in the right place. Fuller and Shikaloff (2017) warn that if the organisation is ‘plodding and comfortable’, an employee who fits such a culture may be engaged, but may not be more productive. Similarly someone with drive and determination may be very productive, but be disengaged because the culture does not suit them well.  In their view organisations will become best performers by continuously and consistently inspiring their people in ways that drive real results.  Excessive long term engagement risks burn-out, or workaholism.

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Kogan PageBakker, A., B., Albrecht, S., L., & Leiter, M., P (2011). Key questions regarding work engagement European Journal of Work and Organi-zational Psychology, 20(1), 4–28
David Guest (2014). Employee engagement: a sceptical analysis Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance
Fuller, R., and Shikaloff, N (2017). Being Engaged at Work Is Not the Same as Being Productive. Harvard Business Review
Pink, D (2011). Drive – The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us Canongate BooksSchaufeli,
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Truss, K. Alfes, R. Delbridge, A. Shantz, & E. Soane (Eds.), Employee Engagement in Theory and Practice, Routledge
Schaufeli, W., and Salanova, M (2011) Work engagement: On how to better catch a slippery concept European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 20: 1, 39 — 46


Further Resources