Motivating your employees

Will Lukang, PMP, CSM, MBA, MASCL

In my many years of experience, I’ve worked for many managers and observed and learned how they motivate their employees.  Unfortunately, there is no blueprint or user manual that can provide us with a step-by-step guide to motivating our employees.

What I learned is that every person is different and there is no one-size-fits-all solution.   But there is a common denominator when encouraging and motivating people; it is first treating people with respect.    You do not need to be friends, but you need to be able to work well together and accept each person’s unique personalities.

Here are other ways of motivating people around you:

1)      Give credit when credit is due – do not take credit for other people’s work or accomplishment.   Learn to praise people in public and privately.  Be specific when you praise someone.  Refrain from saying you did a great job.   Mention what is it that the person did that leads you to praise the person.

2)      Listen – you’ll be surprised that if you lend people your ears and show people you care, it helps develop trust.  But you need to be sincere and do not do it just as a front to mislead others.    Focus on actively listening to people and give them the time to express their viewpoint.

3)      Seek their opinion – ask people for feedback and seek their opinion on matters that pertain to them.  Don’t make all the decisions without hearing them out.    Involve your people whenever possible.  When they are part of the decision-making process, they will buy-in and be compelled to help move things forward.

4)      Provide challenging assignments – work with them to understand their career goals and aspirations.  Provide them with challenging opportunities that help them develop their skills.   Guide them to achieve their goals and provide support, tools, and resources to help them get to where they need to be.

5)      Lead by example – this is perhaps the most effective way to motivate people.  When people see that they can count on you to be there for them, they will do their best to get the job done.  Demonstrate to your team that you are willing to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.  Don’t just give orders and walk away expecting everything to get done.

6)      Provide reward for their work – if someone goes above and beyond, reward them if you can, assuming you are allowed to do it.  If not, treat your team and celebrate success.

While doing the above mentioned things are important, it is equality important to show that people cannot take advantage of you.    Be firm and reprimand people who step out of bounds, but only do it in private.  As I learned early on in my career, praise in public, but reprimand in private.

One has to realize that it is impossible to motivate everyone.   So, don’t make it a point to make motivating everyone a goal.   Do your best and always watch out for people who are willing to go above and beyond and take care of them.    At the end of the day, what matter is that you tried your best and put your best foot forward to make things happen for your team.




  1. Very good post! I’d like to express my infinite gratitude to you, …

    Bob Marley – “Jah will never give the power to a baldhead!”

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