What Is Motivation in Management? (Examples and Benefits)

Updated 21 May 2023

Workplace motivation can be a vital part of a company's success and retention rate. Having a manager who helps employees work their hardest can create a positive and more enjoyable work environment for everyone. Learning how to use motivation as a manager can help you engage with your team and reach company goals successfully. In this article, we discuss what motivation in management is, explore its benefits, explain ways to use it and share helpful examples.

What is motivation in management?

Motivation in management refers to the steps managers can take to inspire their teams to achieve more and to support their workplace experience. When a company has managers who motivate their teams, they may find an overall increase in productivity and achievement. It is useful for leaders to learn management motivation, as this is a skill that will benefit you throughout your working career, no matter what industry you work in.

Related: How to Motivate Your Employees With 11 Impactful Strategies

Benefits of motivational management

There are many benefits to knowing how to inspire and support employees, both in terms of outcomes and personal wellbeing. These benefits include:

Greater satisfaction

Motivated employees are more satisfied with the work they do and their job in general. An inspiring manager can stimulate interest in tasks and encourage employees to stay at the company longer. This can improve the retention rate and reduce the cost of hiring new staff.

Increased consistency

A motivational leader can inspire employees to focus on their tasks and deliver work on time and consistently, rather than procrastinating. This consistency can extend into the quality of the work they produce as employees are motivated to fulfil clients' expectations as best they can.

Improved performance

People who care about what they do are more likely to produce high quality work. If you act as a motivational manager, your team may put in more time and effort. This can help you reach goals faster or improve outcomes.

Related: Understanding Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation

How to use motivation in management

Every employee is different, with their own needs, desires and difficulties. Despite this, there are certain common motivators that you can employ as a manager to connect with your team and improve their overall performance. The following are some strategies you can use to motivate your team members:

1. Foster a positive atmosphere

If staff are comfortable being themselves at work, they are better able to focus on their tasks rather than performing for the people around them. This welcoming environment can inspire employees to try their hardest while the company provides them with the tools for success. It can be important for new employees to feel welcome in a team, so motivating people to interact positively with new staff can make the atmosphere more positive.

Related: 8 Common Habits of Motivational Leaders in the Workplace

2. Provide a comfortable environment

If the surroundings are comfortable and welcoming, your team will settle into their jobs and focus on their work better. Here's how to do it:

  • Let in lots of natural light with windows and low-glare blinds.

  • Invest in comfortable chairs that are ergonomically designed.

  • Offer adjustable desks that provide standing and sitting options.

  • Install efficient ventilation, air conditioning and heating systems.

  • Add plants around the office.

  • Provide clean and well-stocked bathrooms.

  • Have an organised and tidy kitchen area.

3. Have open communication and achievable goals

Employees who understand the tasks you set them and feel comfortable talking to you about them are likely to be more productive and produce better results. You can motivate your team by having open lines of communication: letting them know what you expect of them and removing any ambiguity around goals and priorities. To improve workplace communication with your team members, do the following:

  • Hold regular office hours where employees know they can come and talk to you.

  • Schedule regular meetings that involve the entire team.

  • Ask the team for feedback, ideas and questions.

  • Check that employees feel comfortable offering constructive feedback about your leadership.

4. Get to know your team

Your team members are people just like you, and connecting with them on a human level can be a great way to foster trust and motivation. By taking an interest in their lives and asking relevant questions, you can let them know that you value them, which will inspire them to work harder for you. It's preferable to focus on hobbies and topics that they bring up, rather than on their personal history or life to avoid inappropriate questions.

Related: What Is People Management? Definition, Tips and Skills

5. Uphold the company's values

Demonstrating the values that the company represents to employees is a good way to inspire your team to follow your lead. By seeing that you're focused, enthusiastic and hardworking, team members may be more likely to uphold these values as well. If you want employees to always be on time and well-mannered, it's important that you do the same.

6. Invest in your team

A company's success can depend on the skills of its employees. You can motivate your team to upskill and work hard by investing in their skills and providing them with opportunities for career development and training. Here are a few ways to do it:

  • Give them a flexible schedule so that they can continue their education.

  • Pay for their attendance at relevant conferences.

  • Allocate paid mental health days to help avoid burnout.

  • Hold team development days to foster team spirit.

  • Offer opportunities for mentorship.

  • Provide development tools like podcasts, books and videos.

  • Hold regular performance reviews.

7. Create healthy competition

While you don't want your team to be in ruthless competition with each other, fostering a healthy competitive environment can be a good motivational tool. You can create competition by devising contests around objectives, providing incentives or even setting up a competitive sports team. Basing these competitions around teamwork can foster positivity and collaboration, which helps ensure that the competition never becomes unhealthy.

8. Recognise achievements

If your team members complete a difficult or long task, rewarding them with praise or incentives can be a great way to motivate them to achieve more. Knowing that their manager cares about what they are doing and appreciates their hard work helps inspire the team to work harder and perform better. Incentives can include lunches, email recognition, tokens like gift certificates or a day off.

Related: 40 Examples of How to Praise Someone Professionally

9. Give constructive but positive feedback

Your team members may not enjoy being criticised without praise for their work, so creating a feedback process that is positive but constructive can be a great motivational tool. Praise can reduce doubt and procrastination in your team and may reward them to work harder. You can try to structure your feedback to start with praise, offer a suggestion for improvement, and end with a positive remark so that they don't feel discouraged.

10. Foster employees' autonomy

While it can be tempting to want to monitor every step of your team's work, giving them some freedom fosters a sense of independence and pride in their work. Having control over aspects of a project can make employees more invested and giving them autonomy over some decisions may motivate them to work harder on tasks. It may be useful to offer an open line of communication if you give your team autonomy, so that they know you trust them but are available to help if needed.

Related: What Is an Inspirational Leader? (Plus How to Become One)

Examples of motivation in management

There are many strategies that you can use to show motivation in your management. This includes policies, actions and verbal communication with your team. Here are some examples to motivate employees:

Organising team catch-ups

Communicate with your team about an ideal time to involve everyone in a team meeting. At this meeting, set time aside to give everyone a chance to raise concerns or make comments. Ensure you answer their questions and address any concerns. You may also like to have some casual time during the meeting, when the team can talk and get to know each other better. A morning tea break with hot drinks and biscuits is a nice way to have an informal meeting that will be a positive experience for staff, rather than a chore.

Discussing employee's career goals

Talking with your team members one-on-one can help foster a sense of trust between you and show that you support their career goals. By talking about what they're passionate about achieving, you can motivate them to work harder in your team. Focusing on helping them, rather than keeping them under your control, also shows that you are open to their workplace needs and desires.

Showing appreciation

Sending out a team email when an employee does a good job or finishes a laborious task keeps everyone informed and fosters a sense of camaraderie. If everyone is aware of other people's accomplishments, it can motivate the team to keep up and perform well themselves. But it's important to spread your praise across the team evenly, so everyone feels valued.

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