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Motivating your team is high on the agendas of most managers and leaders. The bad news is, it’s not something we can give to people. The good news is we can create, nurture and continually reinforce the environments that support each individual in achieving their own. Here’s how…

Motivating your team is high on the agendas of most managers and leaders.  The link between motivation and high performing productivity is indisputable, on an organisational level, team level and in individual performance; how we create the right environment for it in our workforce however is not as clear cut.  PDPs, objectives and development plans, learning pathways – these are all fundamental to supporting and developing high performing achievers, but so often fizzle out after a few months, often in favour of the BAU.

The truth is there is no magic wand we can use to bestow motivation upon our people.  Motivation, what dampens it and what elevates it is unique to each individual, our specific environment and experience of the world. 

The bad news is, it’s not something we can give to people. 

The good news is we can create, nurture and continually reinforce the environments that support each individual in achieving their own. 

And thus, aside from the organisational level culture curation, motivational conferences, company rewards schemes and learning and development paths, our people managers are key to cultivating the tailored ,supportive conditions required to set each team member, and ultimately the organisation, up for success.

Here’s 10 touch points to help you nurture the motivation and engagement of your employees, to help them stay focused and aligned with their responsibilities and development opportunities:

  1. Be crystal clear when setting expectations – use SMART or describe what you would see, hear and feel to know they were achieving success

  2. Recognise strengths – use 121s, wash-ups and continual feedback touch-points to articulate how these strengths can be used to achieve tasks

  3. Recognise achievements – don’t let things just get ticked off the to-do list without acknowledgement

  4. Notice when your employee’s motivation drops and have an open and honest conversation about it – leaving safe space for vulnerability and for them to seek help by creating a ‘safe to fail’ and collaborative approach

  5. Reward successes – it doesn’t have to be big or expensive, an early finish or enjoyable project perhaps

  6. Notice when your employees are lacking in skill to achieve a task and support them with training, advice or guidance – in doing this we normalise the fact that we are all a work in progress and nurture a learning and growth culture

  7. Communicate context and impact – help your employee see their place in the bigger picture and the wider team, both the positive impact they can have and the fall out if they and their efforts are missing from the equation

  8. Say thank you – privately, publicly, written or verbal, it goes a long way and leaves a big void when it is forgotten

  9. Give specific feedback that is rooted in context, describes but doesn’t judge or analyse behaviour and articulates impact. Hold the individual accountable for change but agreeing clear next steps and checking back in regularly to ensure progress

  10. Create regular opportunities to reflect – what has been achieved, what hasn’t, what can we learn from this to apply to future success and what blockers can I support you in clearing?

Motivation is rooted in more than a powerful inspiring speech and clear vision.  Adapt your style and approach to the needs of the individual and in that moment.  Remember that as we cycle through the endless change curves of modern life these needs can turn on a penny so enquire as to how the individually is feeling in terms of ability and motivation, listen actively and with empathy and flex supportively when needed.


Tracy James is a Berkshire based Team and Leadership coach specialising in SME, Tech and Marketing. She works with existing and aspiring leaders looking to up-level, achieve fulfilment and lead effectively and authentically with intentional influence and impact. Subscribe to her newsletter at, connect with her @brightyellowcoaching, or book a free discovery call to discuss what you could achieve together.

Tracy James – PCC

Tracy James – PCC

Life and Team & Leadership Coach

Life and work can feel fast paced and full of expectations, challenges and stuff and things to fill our time with – not all of them in line with who we want to be and how we want to feel. Often our mindset can be the biggest blocker to creating the changes that move us closer to that - whether that be confidence, understanding your preferences or purpose, knowing your values and what’s truly important to you, self-awareness or ability to stretch outside of a well-worn in comfort zone. My purpose as a Team & Leadership and Life & Career coach is support you in achieving the self-awareness and empathy required to know your purpose and what feels right for you. To support you in overcoming blockers – whether internal or external. To help you understand and mobilise your unique strengths and superpowers whilst mitigating your development areas, and to help you formulate and implement informed, realistic and viable action plans. In other words, help you get clarity, find purpose, smash blockers and move forward in your life and your career. I am an accredited to PCC level with the ICF, trained with Barefoot Coaching and studied Business and Personal Coaching with the University of Chester. I pull on an eclectic mix of techniques from systemic and leadership methodologies, to values and strengths tools that I tailor in personalised programmes for each of my clients. I work particularly effectively with those seeking to move forward from emotional drains such as anxiety, lack of confidence or loss and towards a more purposeful life and career and in supporting leaders to lead with authenticity, influence and confident impact. I offer a free 30-minute discovery session to help you find out more about the process and how we might work together. From here you will take away a personalised programme proposal to review to help you decide on the best way forward for you. If you would like to explore this further please book your free discovery session here If you would like to know what my clients say, check out my testimonials here

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