Managers often ask, “How can we motivate our employees?”  I wish there was one simple answer, but every individual is motivated in different ways, and therefore the method of motivation may differ person to person. Instead of asking “How do I motivate them?” consider what you can do different to influence and affect each individual’s behavior and action.  Remember…motivation comes from within.

Here are a few tips to get you started.

Identify what has influenced your motivation in the past.

What is your frame of reference for how you motivate others today? You might be trying to motivate others based on what a previous boss did or did not do that worked for you, rather than understanding what your specific employee really wants or needs. This first step is understanding your own motivating factors and recognizing that we are all unique; one size doesn’t fit all.   

Get rid of stereotypes that are aligned to motivation.

Perhaps you have some sales reps that don’t seem motivated by money. Your immediate reaction might be, “Well, then they shouldn’t be in sales”, or maybe you think that “paid time off” is more motivating for women than men. That’s not necessarily true. It’s our job as managers to identify with each individual and understand their personal situation or circumstance and determine what makes them tick. What needs do they have that are not being met? And what you can do better or different to influence them in a positive way, regardless of their position, gender, or race.

Understand demotivating factors. 

Demotivation factors can occur with circumstances that are beyond your control. However, it’s important to understand them. Examples are depression, family problems, or change. On the other hand, there may be environmental or cultural demotivating factors which you can influence and have a positive impact on by being aware and adjusting how you manage and communicate. Examples of that might be lack of interest or challenges, stress and pressure to perform, or a competitive environment.

A common demotivator is when personal values are disrespected. Perhaps an individual highly values workplace respect and professional behavior and are in the midst of co-workers or even managers who do not share or embody those qualities. Such a situation is a motivation killer.

Take the time to complete the motivation exercise.

At K.Coaching we see first hand how managers, when intentional, can be a motivating influence on their employees and ultimately the company’s success. These tips and our Motivation Exercise, will help you tailor your efforts to the individual whose attitudes and behavior you would like to influence.


Krista Moore, president of K.Coaching, Inc., an executive coaching and consulting practice that helps hundreds of companies maximize their full potential through enhancing their sales strategies, sales processes and sales leadership.