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

their roles.

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.

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