Ten Ways to Improve Motivation

By Linda Henman, Ph.D.

  1. Communicate, set timeframes, establish goals, and get out of the way.  Talk to others about what needs to be done, but let them decide how they will go about it.  Unless their way is wrong, let them experiment with their own methods. In other words, be crystal clear on what, when, and more open to how.
  2. But be aware that direct reports will not be motivated to reach high levels of productivity unless they consider your expectations realistic and achievable.  When the goals aren’t realistic, people become disheartened.
  3. Stretch them; don’t snap them.  Dangling the carrot just beyond the donkey’s reach will just make for a very angry donkey.
  4. Help people formulate personal goals that are consistent with organizational and department priorities.  Take care of your people, and they will take care of their jobs.
  5. Working with others, break large projects into several smaller steps with deadlines for each step.  Track completion and give balanced feedback on the success of the plan.
  6. Give each person whole projects instead of pieces or parts of a project.
  7. Grant authority and freedom to get the job done.  Let them sign their names, making them personally responsible for the quality and accuracy of their work.
  8. Assign specialized tasks that enable people to become experts. Most people want to be challenged at work—to have the opportunity to grow professionally and to learn new skills.
  9. Remove controls, but retain accountability. If your people show you they don’t want or need close supervision, don’t force it on them. Micromanaging annoys motivated people.
  10. On a regular basis, introduce new and more difficult tasks not previously handled.

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