How To Motivate Your Team

Mark Wager is an international leadership expert who regularly runs programmes in Fiji. Mark can be contacted at In today’s business world man­agers are not very good at moti­vating
14 Jul 2018 11:00
How To Motivate Your Team

Mark Wager is an international leadership expert who regularly runs programmes in Fiji. Mark can be contacted at

In today’s business world man­agers are not very good at moti­vating people, it’s a fact.

A worldwide survey by gallop showed that only a third of the workforce are actually motivated, that means two thirds of people are not motivated on a regular basis and that is not the scariest thing.

What is even scarier is that many businesses just accept this and do nothing to combat it.

Just imagine if the All Blacks coach told everyone that only a third of the team were feeling mo­tivated for the upcoming match. The majority were feeling just ok and there were some players who didn’t want to pay but they could get a match elsewhere so just turn up and moan all day.

If this happened there would be an outrage yet this happens in the typical workplace everyday and managers just accept it.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

We can have motivated people and we can have workplaces that people want to go to and when they are there they find themselves motivat­ed to perform at their best.

Motivating people you work with isn’t as difficult as you may be­lieve, you just need to know where to start and motivation starts with three simple questions.

The best investment a company can make is in its people

Before I give you the three ques­tions that every manager needs to know in order to motivate their team, I just want to give you some background.

People are at their very core self­ish creatures, even when people perform an act which appear chari­table there is always an element of selfishness behind the act.

There are some people that give money to charity because they want to make a difference in the world, yet there are many more people who give money to charity because of what it says about them as a person.

A well known charity recently noticed an increase in donations when they added a share button next to the donation button in their website, this allowed people to share through social media no­tification of the donation they had just made.

The simple act of being able to tell people what a kind person they are made people more likely to want to donate to the charity.

Discover everyone’s passion

A common mistake I see manag­ers make is that they try to get their team to invest in their vision, when they should instead be looking at getting people to invest in their own vision.

I have a client in Holland who are the biggest dentist firm there and they have an ambition to become the biggest dentistry in Europe.

In order to do this they had to mo­tivate their team so the owner ap­proached the receptionist and told her of his vision of having this large business to create a legacy to hand over to his children.

Do you think she cared? She did to a certain level but she found no rea­son to go above and beyond what she was asked to do.

The manager approached me for advice and I told him to stop talk­ing about his passion and start talking about hers.

He approached her the second time and asked her what she cared about more than anything in the world.

She replied that she cared about her young son more than anything, she was a single mother who found it difficult raising her boy and he was quite simply her whole world.

The manager then told her that if she bought into his vision and helped him to make his business successful, then when they hit cer­tain revenue targets he would be in the position to offer free healthcare to all their employees and their children.

How motivated do you feel she was this time?

The first time she was asked to make someone else’s dream come true yet the second time she was asked to make her own dream come true.

In a similar scenario I had a cli­ent who ran a childcare centre and relied on volunteers usually young students in the local area.

Some of these volunteers wanted to help out and childcare was not their passion it was something they wanted to do in the short term.

The manager sat down and asked a team member what she wanted from life and her reply was that she wanted to be a lawyer.

Once this passion was identified the manager had something to work with, so she told the employee that if she worked hard at the child­care and took on extra responsibili­ties, her cv would look stronger and give her a better chance of becom­ing a lawyer. If she hit certain tar­gets then she would get her a meet­ing with someone she knew who worked in a top law firm.

The manager created a win-win scenario which helped both of them.

People will work hard for you but will work harder for themselves

When I coach managers in order to determine if they are fully mo­tivating their team I always ask them if they could answer three things about everyone who works for them.

If the manager has the answered these three questions they are do­ing a good job, if not then they are losing productivity because they are not doing everything they can to motivate people.

Have a look at the three questions and see how you do.

  • Question one: Do you know what each member of your team cares about more than anything else in the world? What is most important to them?
  • Question two: Do you know what each member of your team wants?
  • By this I don’t mean what they want from the company but what they want from life. If they had a magic wand what would they wish for?
  • Question three: Do you know why each member of your team is working with you? Why are they here rather than working anywhere else?


If you know the answers to the above questions then you will be successful in motivating your team.

Once you know a person’s pas­sion, you need to find a way to link that passion to your team objective. This creates win-win scenarios like the Dentist manager and the child­care manager above and you will find the trigger to unlock their full potential.

No-one goes to work to be miser­able, everyone wants to be motivat­ed, everyone wants to be inspired, they just need to be shown how.



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