Can't Seem to Motivate your Team? Try These 5 Simple Steps

A great leader can make all the difference in the world when it comes to a happy, productive workplace. Who wants to work in a dismal environment with a nagging boss? Who wouldn't rather work under a leader who builds us up for the things we do right?

When it comes to being that key motivator, keep these five tactics in mind:

1. Motivate Others by Understanding their Motivations. Understand what motivates each person. While introverted people may tend to hole up in their offices to figure things out, extroverts might prefer a boisterous discussion in the conference room. One team member might wish for verbal recognition; another may feel most satisfied when adding value to a project.

2. Listen, Listen, Listen. Involve your team in decisions; don't just be a sounding board. Ask what options you've missed, and pay attention to the unique expertise each team member offers. Great leaders aren't expected to know all the answers – but they should know how to find those answers using the knowledge around the room.

3. Build up Confidence through Delegation. Nothing brings down an employee like micromanagement. Show confidence in your team by delegating according to each person's unique skills. It's crucial to be clear about desired results, but trust them to do those tasks in whatever way they feel is best.

4. Take a “We" Approach. Team members will be motivated when you speak collectively regarding ownership of a project – both the successes and failures. Take responsibility for your own personal mistakes, but don't publicly denounce others for falling short in their efforts.

5. Celebrate Small Victories. Don't underestimate the power of a pat on the back; be sure to recognize team members for their unique skills. Celebrate their contributions in one-on-one situations, in front of the team, and in front of larger audiences when possible. Make sure each person feels valued.

When you lead by example, you can help change the mood of your team members from one of dreading the job at hand, to one of pride in their accomplishments, in one another, and in the entire organization. Inspiring others is one of the most important competencies a great strategic leader can have.

Looking for more ways to motivate your team? Attend an Executive MBA Preview Luncheon.