Your people may have all the expertise in the world but, if they're not motivated, it's unlikely that they'll achieve their true potential. 

On the other hand, work seems easy when people are motivated. 

Motivated people have a positive outlook, they're excited about what they're doing, and they know that they're investing their time in something that's truly worthwhile. In short, motivated people enjoy their jobs and perform well. 

Types of Motivation 

There are two main types of motivation – extrinsic and intrinsic. 

Extrinsic motivation is when you use external factors to encourage your team to do what you want. Pay raises, time off, bonus cheques, and the threat of job loss are all extrinsic motivators – some positive, some less so. 

Intrinsic motivation is internal. It's about having a personal desire to overcome a challenge, to produce high-quality work, or to interact with team members you like and trust. Intrinsically motivated people get a great deal of satisfaction and enjoyment from what they do. 

Every team member is different, and will likely have different motivators. So, it's important to get to know your people, discover what motivates them, and find a good mixture of extrinsic and intrinsic motivators, so that you can motivate them successfully. 

Spotting de-motivated behaviour 

  1. How often do you spot signs of demotivated behaviour?
  2. Lateness
  3. Sickness
  4. Resistance to change
  5. Lack of engagement
  6. High staff turnover

How do you tackle Demotivated Staff? 

Step 1: Check Your Assumptions 

You may not realize it, but your management style is strongly influenced by what you believe about your people.

For example, do you think your team members dislike working, and need continuous supervision? Or, do you believe that they're happy to do their jobs, and are likely to enjoy greater responsibility and freedom? 

These two fundamental beliefs form the backbone of the team motivation concept Theory X & Y 

Theory X managers are authoritarian, and assume that they need to supervise people constantly. They believe that their team members don't want or need responsibility, and that they have to motivate people extrinsically to produce results. 

Theory Y managers believe that their team members want more responsibility and should help make decisions. They assume that everyone has something valuable to offer. 

In short, your beliefs about your team members' motivation affect the way you behave toward them. 

So, it's important to think carefully about how you view your people, and to explore what you believe truly motivates them. (It can help to think about it from your own perspective – would you prefer your own boss to manage you using Theory X or Theory Y? And how long would you stay working for a Theory X manager?) 

Step 2: Eliminate Dissatisfaction and Create Satisfaction

Psychologist Fredrick Herzberg said that you can motivate your team by eliminating elements of job dissatisfaction, and then creating conditions for job satisfaction. 

In his Motivation Hygiene Theory he noted how causes of dissatisfaction often arise from irritating company policies, intrusive supervision, or lack of job security, among others. If you don't address these issues, people won't be satisfied at work, and motivating them will prove difficult, if not impossible. 

Once you've removed the elements of job dissatisfaction, you can look at providing satisfaction. Sources of job satisfaction include clear opportunities for advancement/promotion, an increased sense of responsibility, ongoing training and development programs, or simply a feeling of working with purpose. 

Step 3: Personalize Your Motivational Approach

Remember, your team is made up of individuals who have their own unique circumstances, backgrounds and experiences. Consequently, each person may be driven by different motivating factors, and be more or less adept at self motivation. When you make an effort to understand each team member, you can help them stay motivated. 

Step 4: Use Transformational Leadership 

Motivation is vital in the workplace, but this will only take you so far, and then leadership takes over. 

Leadership – What you need to know! 

When you adopt this leadership style, you can motivate and lift your team to new heights, and help it to achieve extraordinary things. Transformational leaders expect great things from their team members, and they spark feelings of trust and loyalty in return. 

To become a transformational leader, you need to create an attractive, inspiring vision of a meaningful future, encourage people to buy into this vision, manage its delivery, and continue to build trusting relationships with your team members. Set aside time to develop your own leadership skills, and focus on your own personal development, so that you can become an inspiring role model for your people. 

Key Points

As a manager, your goal is to keep your team members motivated and enthusiastic about their work. It's important to strike a balance between extrinsic motivators, such as pay raises and changes to working conditions, and intrinsic motivators, like assigning people tasks that they enjoy. 

First, analyze your own assumptions about your people. It's important to remember that they will likely respond more positively when you use a participatory style of management, where they have responsibility and can make their own decisions. 

Next, use Herzberg's Motivators and Hygiene Factors to eliminate any causes of dissatisfaction among your team members, and then take steps to introduce elements of satisfaction. 

Everyone is different, so tailor your motivational approach to each team member. There are many strategies and tools that you can use but, the more you know and understand each individual, the more effective your efforts will be. 

Finally, remember the importance of leadership in motivating your team members and encouraging them to exceed their expectations. By taking steps to become a transformational leader, you can encourage loyalty and trust, and inspire, support and recognize others. More than this, you can inspire them to achieve extraordinary things.

Jose joined New Frontiers in 2000 working a variety of roles from recruitment consultant to in-house recruiter and staff trainer and now General Manager. Jose has a wealth of travel industry experience having worked in travel for 8 years prior to joining New Frontiers with roles in retail and for a tour operator.