How Well Do You Motivate Others?

Pay, praise and promotions may have some effect on motivation levels in the workplace. But these three Ps pale in comparison to more personal factors, such as the Top 5 of the oft-cited research by Rewick and Lawler: job challenge, accomplishing something worthwhile, learning new things, developing skills and abilities, and autonomy.

Wonder how well you motivate others? Take this Self-Quiz, answering True or False, to see how you’re doing in lighting and kindling the fire of enthusiasm in your employees:  

1. I know things about the personal lives of those who work with me, such as how many children they have or their special hobbies or musical taste.

2. I try to ask questions rather than give direct orders.

3. When making a request, I match the benefits of the task to the goals and values of the person I am asking.

4. I give specific and sincere praise for improvements in performance, so as to let people know that I have noticed. I celebrate successes.

5. When I give negative feedback, I begin with honest appreciation for what is being done well and correctly. I follow that with an “and” rather than a “but” before delivering constructive feedback.  

6. Put simply, I treat others the way I would like to be treated.

7. I set goals that are reasonable but that require stretching. Whenever possible, I work with individuals to set goals together.

8. I respect the professionalism and expertise of those I supervise. I ask for their input in planning, and I give them autonomy and authority to complete projects.

9. I share my own thinking and values around the goals and projects set.

10. Rather than worry too much about others’ weaknesses, I focus on building their strengths and confidence.

11. If those I supervise are not motivated, I look first to myself and what I need to change about myself or my approach.

12. I give constant feedback, both verbal and statistical, so that my direct-reports always know how they’re doing.

13. I am motivated, enthusiastic, transparent and energetic. I have good balance in my work/personal life, and I love what I do. In effect, I am modeling the traits I want to see in others.

14. I am always on the lookout for challenging tasks for those I supervise.

15. Everyone I work with understands what the company’s mission and vision mean to them as individuals.

If you answered false more often than true, you might want to consider giving the topic more attention. Motivating others isn’t always easy. But because it doesn’t really come from you (it comes from within your employees), it may be easier and more fun than you think. It’s not about what you have to control, but about what you can help unleash!

If you’d like some coaching on how to motivate others, or any other leadership challenge you may be having, call Linda at 416-617-0734 or email Linda at