No Image Available

Christina Lattimer

People Development Magazine


Read more from Christina Lattimer

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Motivate Your Team: 6 Tips For Managers


 This article draws to a close my short theme about the most difficult situations managers have to face. In week one I wrote about How to make Managing Poor Performance Easy, week two was about tackling those Difficult conversations and week three about Creating a healthier way of working. Today I write about how to motivate team members.

As a young and inexperienced manager, one of my earliest recollections was a challenge by an equally young and inexperienced member of staff. He was popular and influential and he decided that he was going to make life as difficult as he could for me.

With little support from anyone experienced, I pondered my options, and worried that day by day my effectiveness as a manager was being diminished by what felt like, his sabotage. One day my dithering was over when after taking an overly extended and extremely inconvenient lunch break he swanned back into office and when I asked to have a quick word, he swore at me in front of the team.

It was a defining moment for me on a number of fronts, the most vital being the consequences of putting off taking decisive action on a team members behaviour well before it reached critical point. Secondly the subsequent events determined a path I was to tread and refine over the years.

What happened in that moment was I realised I wasn’t going to get anywhere if I didn’t harness the commitment and respect of my team. Nor would they work well unless I demanded and expected the best of who they were.

Once we got over the formality of the strong warning he received, I decided to be wholly frank and I explained the effect his behaviour was having, and at the same time I also expressed my disappointment that he was selling himself short. I managed to get him to talk about his future and what he wanted and most importantly painted a vivid picture of where his behaviour was headed and asked him if that was what he wanted. Of course he didn’t. His behaviour changed from that day, and we never looked back. It took him about 5 years, and we had long since lost touch, but when I read he had been appointed to the role he had at that time told me he would love to do, I had to smile.

Whenever I have interviewed managers and asked what they do to motivate their team, the answer to this question displays a manager’s level of self-awareness and confidence about what makes people tick. Often, great motivators are unconscious of the gifts they have as they are natural people managers, or conversely they have made a conscious decision to develop a good understanding of people, and been open and willing to learn what they have to do to get the best out of their team.

If you are a manager and are not sure how to motivate your people, here are 6 practical ways you can improve levels of engagement and increase the commitment and enthusiasm of your team.

  1. People are either “towards” or “away” motivated. “Towards” motivated people need to have their own vision for themselves (hopefully linked to the company vision, but not always), and once they have a picture of what they want then they will work hard to achieve that vision. For these people, your job is to help them develop a personal vision within the company.
  2. With “away” motivated people, you need to be able to help them articulate what they don’t want, so necessary actions can be taken to move away from these possibilities. These people fear the consequences of not taking appropriate action or making much needed changes. Your job is to help them develop the necessary drivers for change. For example, they may feel motivated because they don’t want to get left behind or their jobs may disappear.
  3. People thrive on being able to make decisions and feeling in control. As a manager you can support people by allowing them as much autonomy as you can. The best way is to agree outcome based objectives or goals, without being too prescriptive about “how” outcomes will be achieved. Give your team permission to try different ways and allow them to “fail and learn”.
  4. Instead of having team meetings, hold team “problem solving sessions”, or “driving up performance sessions”. Encourage your team members to have a say in how collective issues, problems or challenges are approached and solved.
  5. Celebrate success. There is no doubt, what you focus on is what you get. If you continually focus on what goes wrong, then you will encounter more of what goes wrong. By celebrating success both as a team and with individuals, you will find more and more to celebrate. Successes can be a range of things. Encourage team members to note when things are going well and when they feel good about something they have achieved, no matter how small, it may seem.
  6. Think, say and act as if you believe the best in your team. Develop a mind-set whereby you believe that people are doing their best and will do better when they know better. Tell people what you appreciate about their contribution, and find ways to internally and externally communicate your belief in them. If things go wrong, then focus on the lessons to be learned, and don’t personalise behaviour.

Never expect less than the best, and eventually that is precisely what you will get with your team. When you expect and respond positively to great contribution and good outcomes; mediocre and lack lustre performance, or performers will slowly but surely fade away.

If you’d like to find out more about Leadership Development and the work we do at People Discovery, then read our great new monthly Ezine:  Issue 2 is out now!  The Extra MILE

Why not sign up to get your  free copy direct to your mail box and when we send you your first issue, we will also send you a copy of our free E-book The Best Business Advice I Ever Received!

Christina has managed people for twenty seven years and led hugely successful teams. She has worked with people at all levels in various organisations to help them achieve their potential, and she has been actively involved in the learning and development field in a number of different roles.

People Discovery is a Leadership Development coaching consultancy,  based in North East England, working globally.

By Christina Lattimer

Follow us on 


No Image Available
Christina Lattimer


Read more from Christina Lattimer

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!