We’re in challenging times. Whether you’re a leader, team member, colleague, parent, sibling or a friend, motivating others can now be more difficult than ever.

If motivating others were easy, then everyone would do it. Reading about some techniques on-line and trying to put them in place with an expectation to inspire is unlikely. It takes practice and like anything, is else worthwhile.

In order to motivate another person, they need to be willing. If someone is intent within themselves in having no interest in doing something, there’s very little that can be done to change that.

If you happen to be a leader, like a manager, then you may have other tools at your disposal to force the issue. But that is not the same as motivating them. If you were to leave the company, they would revert to their previous behaviour, right?

If you try a new technique only when you may be inspired to do so, it may not produce the results you seek. You must be dedicated to trying them out and continuing to until you see results. You also need to decide when something isn’t working after several tries and identify an alternative approach. Unfortunately, there is no magic wand as to when to make that determination.

Motivating others is about aligning their goals with yours. This alignment could require some compromise in the process. For example, if you are trying to get one of your workers to do something, you need to listen to them if they legitimately say they have too much other work. You can offer to have someone else on your team take up some of the extra work, or you could even do it yourself under certain circumstances.

You can’t approach motivation as entirely academic. In other words, if you read about something and try to implement it, you think it should work. If it doesn’t, you may blame the people you are trying to motivate and believe there is something wrong with them. However, some people may be going through their own stuff and therefore unable to focus on their jobs or even their personal life. You need to have compassion for them and factor in human emotions that may be at play.

If motivating others isn’t working, you should try to find out why. It may be something you are doing that needs change. For instance, are you practicing what you preach?

A simple example is if you are telling everyone that they must work on weekends but are unwilling to work on a weekend yourself, then you will see some reticence from your team, right? You will have much better results if you lead from the front.

Motivation is more about communication than giving orders. It’s about getting people to recognise the importance of the work or the immediate project. If they don’t share the vision, it will be difficult. You must allow them to take the initiative and own the problem and their solution.


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