How Well Do You Motivate Others?

There’s no doubt that salary, recognition and promotions are huge workplace motivators for the short term. But research shows that more personal factors – like job challenge, relationship with leaders and learning new skills – are the real keys in lighting a fire in your employees.

Take the quiz below to find out if you are the kind of leader who creates an environment where people are motivated and engaged on your team.

  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 to let people know that I have noticed. I celebrate successes.
  5. When I give criticism, I begin with honest appreciation for what is being done well and right. I follow that with an “and” rather than a “but” before delivering criticism.
  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 I assign.
  10. Rather than worry too much about others’ weaknesses, I focus on building their strengths.
  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’ve answered “no” to some of these questions, we suggest considering making some changes. Engaging in these new behaviors may seem strange at first. But what we’ve learned from coaching hundreds of leaders is that you’ll experience a growing comfort level as you incorporate them into your repertoire of leadership behaviors. Practice these motivating strategies until they become a habit. The ultimate payoff will be the difference you’ll see in the levels of engagement and trust of your employees.

For support in building a culture where employees are intrinsically motivated, contact us at


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