One of the trickiest areas for managers can be how to motivate your staff. Here are a few do's and don'ts on the subject of motivation.

One of the trickiest areas for managers can be how to motivate your staff.  Here are a few do's and don'ts on the subject of motivation.


  • Provide what it takes to get the best from any and every employee:

    • a good working environment and the tools to do the job

    • security

    • a sense of belonging/team spirit/friendship

    • respect and recognition for achievements

    • being given the opportunity to grow and develop.

  • Check out what's important to them about the way they do their job - and listen to and act on the answers!

  • Get to know your people - find out what they enjoy doing and are good at both inside and outside work.  This helps to build rapport, trust and loyalty.

  • Give feedback - and often. Make it as specific as you can - ‘your report is really well structured and has a convincing conclusion' is a lot more valuable than ‘that report is great'.

  • Remember to say thank you - a few words go a long way.


  • Assume that everyone is motivated by the same things as you are.  Find out what works for them - pay linked to performance, training, holidays - different people want different things and at different stages of their lives.

  • Expect people to read your mind!  Explain your expectations - otherwise they will only find out what you want through trial and (more likely) error.

  • Take it for granted that your people need the same level of support from you all the time.  People need different things from you at different times - and tend to need more support when in a new job, taking on a different area of responsibility or under pressure to deliver to a tight deadline.  Discuss with them what they feel comfortable with and notice what works for them.

  • Think that people will know what's going on in the team/business.  Communicate frequently to keep people in the loop and make sure they know how to get more information if they want it.

  • Forget that your employees are ambassadors for your organisation - if they are happy they will give positive messages to your customers and to prospective employees.

Applying these principles will help you to build positive relationships with the people who work with and for you and encourage them to stay with your business.  In exit surveys one of the most frequent reasons for leaving an organisation is a ‘bad manager' - use these tips and your staff won't be saying that about you.


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