How to Figure Out What Motivates Others

Great things can happen when people are motivated—but making that happen isn’t a simple task, because no two people share exactly the same motivation. The best leaders understand that motivating others is an important part of their role, and that doing it well means discovering and providing motivation that’s unique to each individual member of their team as well as building organizational values that foster motivation.

To really figure out what motivates others so you can work with them to build individual and team success is a skill that requires you to go deep. Here are a few suggestions for establishing individual motivation and a motivational culture:

Start with the basics. The first principle of motivating others is communicating to them how important they are—letting them know they’re valued and what they do is important.

Invest in their future. Show an interest in the career path of your employees. Get to know their best areas, what they enjoy doing, and what their aspirations are. Give them challenging assignments that play to their strengths and help them grow, then celebrate their successes.

Connect them with a mission and purpose. Help people stay connected to the big picture of what they’re working for to ensure they never think of their job as just a paycheck. Let them know about the mission they’re part of .

Help them learn something new. Learning brings with it enthusiasm and new ideas. Provide subscriptions so people can read and stay up-to-date in their field, sponsor learning within the organization with brown-bag lunches and workshops, and pay for employees to attend classes and conferences when you can.

Give them autonomy. One of the greatest motivators a leader can give is freedom—the freedom to make decisions, to come up with new ideas, to move things forward independently. Autonomy is the best motivator for many people. When you tell someone you trust them, you empower them to do great things.

Make it personal. Not everyone is driven entirely by work. The people on your team all  have hobbies and interests, families and friends. Find out what drives each person, and ask them about it. The better you understand the people who make up your team, the more successfully you can motivate them—and the closer the bonds that connect you all.

Praise with purpose. When an individual or team does something right, praise them with purpose, Be specific about how their accomplishments and achievements affect others. Remember to recognize those who work behind the scenes as well as those in the spotlight.

Delegate to empower. Get people involved in setting organizational goals and determining the strategies and processes to reach those goals. Ask for their opinions about decisions that have to be made. Assign work and trust people to do it well—and when they do, express your appreciation.

Lead from within:  Motivation gives strength and inspires drive in others.


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The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR,, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

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