Employee Engagement

How Great Leaders Motivate Their Teams


Common wisdom tells us that the world is filled with two kinds of people: leaders and followers. Leaders are those who create, who direct, who win. Followers are everyone else. However, more findings in research tell us that this popular worldview simply isn’t true. The vast majority of people do not neatly fit into the leader-follower binary. Instead, people tend to be both leaders and followers, and their roles depend on the project at hand. The fact is nearly everyone wants to be a leader of something, and encouraging that drive at work makes for an exceedingly productive workforce.

The problem: many employers struggle to motivate their employees to greatness. As a result, they maintain a staff of mediocre followers. The trick, then, is knowing how to inspire the leader inside every employee. Here are a few tips to help motivate any member of any team:

1. Listen

One of the most frustrating aspects of being the boss is trying to get subordinates to listen ― but few leaders bother to pay attention to what their employees have to say. Listening is perhaps one of the most valuable soft skills, especially in a leader, as listening provides dozens of benefits at once. Because workers often feel the least important in an organization, listening to their thoughts and feelings improves their morale by giving them a sense of purpose. Plus, leaders can acquire new ideas for improvements in processes, policies, and projects by just taking the time to receive feedback from employees.

Provide multiple avenues for your employees to be able to reach out to you. Whether that’s by creating an open-door policy or office hours where they can come talk to you and get your undivided attention. Another option is to use messaging apps, like Slack and Skype, where your employees can reach out to you (and each other) quicker than an email. This can help you develop a better rapport with them and provide an easier opportunity for them to talk and you to listen.

2. React

While listening alone often provides a number of advantages for leaders, employees gain even more when leaders react to what they have said. The most accessible opportunities employees have to progress is through feedback from their superiors. Criticism and commendation are equally important for guiding a worker toward greatness, so leaders should not be afraid to tell their teams the truth. By reacting promptly and properly, leaders help their teams grow. But at the same time, it is imperative that leaders also provide proper recognition of their employees when they do well.

Take time once a week or month to call out moments where you saw each individual shine on the team. When employees see they will be recognized for their efforts, they will more likely stay engaged and interested in the work. At Hoopla, we make it easy to instantly recognize our employees. Because our data is connected to Hoopla TV, everyone is notified through a TV broadcast whenever reps hit their quotas. With a virtual sales gong and personal deal alerts that highlights the quota met, every rep is recognized for their achievements right when it happens.

3. Educate

Continued learning is another way employees can develop their skills and provide quality work. Unfortunately, not every workplace is friendly toward workers attempting to fit in courses or earn another degree. Therefore, leaders who are willing to support attempts at education will inspire loyalty from their subordinates and excellence within them. There are a few different methods of encouraging education. Leaders can allow schedule flexibility or even fight for a certain amount of workplace compensation for tuition. Additionally, leaders can invite experts to give lectures on emerging business trends; for example, ExO Founder Salim Ismail can teach employees about advancements in tech that help businesses grow. Curiosity can drive employees to new heights, so leaders can leverage information to motivate their teams while providing chances for employees to boost knowledge.

4. Engage

Work can often become monotonous, and monotony is the death of motivation. According to the New York Daily News, more than 70 percent of American workers feel miserable at their jobs, and this high percentage is largely due to leadership’s failure to engage their teams. Engagement with work isn’t difficult to achieve, but it does require leaders to be attentive to their workers’ strengths and clear-sighted in regards to their workers’ needs.

Different workers thrive in different environments, so the key to establishing engagement is knowing which workers will do the best work in which settings. Assigning projects appropriately is an art form, but it is one that is repaid with superior performance from employees.

5. Celebrate

It seems too simple to be true, but one of the primary purposes of leaders is providing positivity. Being optimistic regarding a team’s potential is one of the easiest ways to motivate a team to do better. People naturally want to live up to others’ expectations, so setting high standards and believing the team can reach them is an excellent strategy for leaders to adopt. Even in providing truthful feedback, leaders can provide a positive sense of achievement by bookending criticisms with praise. Celebrating wins amongst workers improves productivity better than almost any other tactic, and is the easiest to do.

Everyone enjoys the positive vibes that come from recognition for their efforts and performance. However, more often than not, praise is not public enough or too late to be effective. With Hoopla, hitting goals and big wins can be celebrated with fanfare and excitement. Custom videos including virtual sales gongs, breaking news alerts, and fireworks can play and introduce the big win with personalized photos and walk-up song. This allows the celebration to be spread through the office, and make each rep a star in their own company.

Hoopla Newsflash

Leaders hold a multitude of responsibilities, but one of the most important is motivating their teams. By encouraging leaders to actively integrate these motivation strategies, all employees in the workplace can start to feel like the leaders they truly are.