Motivating Team Members
If leadership is about in�uencing others, then our study of leadership must include exploring
motivation. How do we motivate others to buy into our vision for change? How do we motivate others
to follow our lead? It's a good question; however, the answer is not a simple one.
Motivation refers to the internal or external forces, which stimulate passion and drive causing one totake a particular action or seek to accomplish a certain goal (Daft, 2011). However, as a leader it is
often a challenge to determine what those internal and external forces are as they can vary from
person to person. How does one determine the best way to motivate a team when there are so many
variables? One key is through relationship.
Leaders must develop a relationship with team members and create an environment where their
contributions are valued. Research has shown that employees who do not have a connection to theirleader and their team members are less motivated and are less committed to the achieving the team or
company's goals (Krueger & Kellham, 2005). According to Gallup research, the most motivated and
engaged employees are those whose strengths are closely aligned with their roles (Coffman &
Gonzalez-Molina, 2002). Therefore, leaders must talk to team members often to determine what
matters most to them and to learn what employees may need in order to be the most productive in
Traditional studies of motivation include reviewing classic theories such as Maslow's (1970) hierarchyof needs, Herzberg's (1974) two-factor theory, McClelland's (1962) work, reinforcement theories, and
expectancy and equity theories. All of these theories are important to understand as they give rise to
understanding human needs and behavioral motivation. However, many organizations today are
making the shift to empowering employees to make a number of the day-to-day decisions themselves.