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Being a manager or a team lead is a complex and challenging job that requires a nuanced approach and the ability to multitask and balance the needs of multiple people at the same time. While some individuals find the demands and pressure of a managerial position energizing, others may find it daunting or have a complicated relationship with the responsibilities of the role.

Managers are in a unique position to make their ideas come to life. When their team is cohesive and performing well, it can feel exhilarating to watch concepts turn into reality. However, when motivation is lacking, performance is low, and benchmarks are missed, few things can be more stressful.

Motivating and inspiring a team of people isn’t always an easy task. Studies have shown that employees need the right balance of internal and external incentives as well as a supportive work environment in order to meet their fullest potential. Depending on the employee’s role, personality and work style, they may require different motivating strategies and different rewards to look forward to.

If you’re finding yourself stuck in a creative rut when it comes to inspiring and encouraging your team, here are 10 ways to boost their motivation.

  1. Give them the big picture. Employees are more likely to feel motivated at work when they see themselves as part of something bigger and have the sense that they are on the ground floor of something important. Loop your employees in on your long term goals and strategies and even ask their opinions on the direction your company is headed.
  2. Help them connect to their “why.” When team members see their job as something they do for someone else, they are more likely to feel dissatisfied or burnt out. Create strategies that allow employees to connect with their personal “why,” or the reason they show up to work each day.
  3. Balance responsibility and control. Studies have shown that employees become burnt out or disgruntled when they have a high level of responsibility and a low level of control over their situations. Try to create a work environment where these factors are balanced. For example, if your team members are carrying a lot of responsibility, give them more control over their schedules and work environment.
  4. Request feedback. Successful companies draw feedback and inspiration from every level of the staff. When executives and managers ask employees for their opinions and ideas about the company, not only do they uncover valuable information, but they also help team members feel included and more motivated to give their best at work.
  5. Be flexible. Life happens, and managers who understand that and give their team members autonomy and flexibility wind up with more happy, resourced employees who are internally motivated to give 100 percent on the job.
  6. Design a creative work environment. The physical environment and design of a building can have a big impact on the energy and mental state of its occupants. Try to create a comfortable, creative workspace with natural light and ergonomic considerations so your employees can relax and focus on the task at hand.
  7. Create advancement opportunities.
    People are more motivated when they feel like they are making progress and working toward a specific goal. By creating advancement opportunities within your company and making it clear to employees how they can get ahead, you will encourage them to give their best.
  8. Invest in employee mental health. Anxiety and depression affect a majority of the population and can prevent individuals from being fully present at work. By investing in the mental health of your team you will not only help improve their quality of life, but can also boost their energy and focus at work.
  9. Create a sense of community. The sense of belonging and community is a deep need that all humans share. Teams with a strong feeling of cohesiveness, trust and acceptance will outperform teams that feel disjointed and disconnected. Incorporate employee outings, events, programs and structures that help your team feel more like a family, and you will boost the motivation of everyone involved.
  10. Ask employees what they need. Sometimes the things you think will motivate your employees may cause them to roll their eyes or, worse, become resentful and bitter. Instead of assuming you know what will inspire your team, ask them what they need to be successful.

Athlete on Demand connects organizations with motivational sports celebrities for a range of events and speaking engagements. We empower current and retired professional athletes transitioning to entrepreneurship by eliminating middle men like booking agents and giving athletes more control over their business careers.