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7 Ways to Motivate Your Team

2586096615_2d7c5928a5_m.jpgIf you feel like you're not getting the most out of your employees, it might be because you haven't found the key to what lights their fires. Figuring out which approach best motivates your team is the key to getting them engaged, excited, and as productive as possible. offers seven approaches to try.

  1. Motivate through challenges. Create personally meaningful goals that require increasing effort but are still attainable, provide feedback on performance and align those goals with the individual's self-esteem.
  2. Motivate through curiosity. Provide something in the individual's environment that makes him want to learn more. This should be something that connects his present skills or knowledge with a more desirable level -- if he's willing to work for it.
  3. Motivate through control. If your employee likes to be in control of his destiny, this is the best approach. Make cause and effect relationships clear (e.g., this is the goal and this is the reward). Allow him to see the work he does makes a difference, and let him choose what (and how) he wants to learn.
  4. Motivate through fantasy. Help individuals imagine situations that are motivating -- for example, if the project is done well it would help make a case for a promotion.
  5. Motivate through competition. While comparing one's performance to that of a co-worker can be motivating, be careful with this approach if you're pitting two team members against each other. The loser may lose motivation, and competitive spirit can decrease the likelihood of a cooperative, helpful environment.
  6. Motive through cooperation. Allow your employees to help each other attain goals in a teamwork environment.
  7. Motivate through recognition. Money's important, but so is respect. Some people perform best when their achievements are recognized or praised by others, so call out their efforts in a public way.
Think you already know plenty about motivation? Put your money where your mouth is by taking this Fortune quiz that tests your perceptions on management and motivation.

(image by n o n o via Flickr, CC 2.0)

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