How to Motivate Your Team to Succeed

Motivation is one of the most important aspects in the success of any project. Without it, your team will go nowhere.

The reason for this is that motivation drives behaviour and behaviour drives actions. When you have a team that’s working toward a single goal — whether it be to build an awesome product or a great company — your whole team will work tirelessly to achieve their goal. This can lead to constant pressure and stress on the rest of the team, which can ultimately lead to burnout and poor performance.

If you want to avoid this kind of situation, you need the right kind of motivation for your team. Let’s break down what motivates people, and how we can use that knowledge to help motivate our teams:

Loyalty (a well-defined value) – The people on your team are all loyal to each other and are motivated by their shared values. They will work hard towards achieving those values even when they don’t feel they are contributing equally to reach them (for example, if one person is always more productive than another, that person may not feel valued). 

The same holds true for things like a healthy work environment or flexible working hours; these features are all valuable from the perspective of people who have been brought together by your company or product. 

Loyalty is also important because it acts as an anchor for team members when their morale suffers during times of change or uncertainty; it makes them feel safe and secure in their work environment, which leads them back into focus again once things settle down after some turbulence settles in. As glenn knight said in his post “I’m not sure why I love my job so much”:

Autonomy – People on your team find themselves free from direct control over their own fate; they know that they can do whatever they want with their time and effort at this moment and get rewarded accordingly… This means that they don’t need any external guidance because they know exactly what they should be doing.

It also means that should something unexpected happen while they are out doing something else — like finding out someone has stolen a file from their laptop while on vacation.

They won’t necessarily feel as though there was anything wrong with what they were doing; rather — as long as everyone else was just as busy, no one really noticed what happened anyway… This means their mind may wander around some things during those moments but nothing serious will take place…

Theories of motivation and their application to the workplace

Theories of motivation are as old as human culture itself. From the dawn of civilization, there have been philosophers who have attempted to understand the workings of motivation and human behaviour—most notably Aristotle. Since his time, many modern creators have attempted to take advantage of the power of these theories by attempting to apply them to their own creative endeavours.

One popular theory is called “productivity” (or “productivity”), which is often thought of as a means for people to point at their accomplishments and say “This is what I achieved this week.” However, being productive does not mean that you can be happy with your work every single day or that you are motivated by money.

Another theory, called “motivation”, which has traditionally been used to explain why people do what they do (e.g., see this or this post) focuses on why people do something — their goals, desires, or reasons for doing something in the first place. In order to understand how we can use these two theories together, it is important to understand one last theory: “value” (or “value-seeking behaviour”). 

This theory/concept attempts to explain how we come up with goals and reasons for doing certain things in the first place. In our case, a value-seeking person may want a specific item but may not necessarily be interested in how it relates directly to solving some problem he or she faces at work (which would put this person firmly outside the realm of productivity).

By thinking about these theories and applying them together — both in our own company and in other companies — we can take advantage of both systems:

Productivity: By changing our own goals so that they are more positive than negative (i.e., by adding value), we will increase our productivity and make us happier

Motivation: By changing our desires so that they are more positive than negative (i.e., by adding value), we will increase our motivation and make us happier

The role of the leader in motivating team members

If you want to get the most out of your team, you need to be able to lead them. Of course, there are many ways of doing this, but here are a few suggestions:

When creating our business management software, I’ve been known to say “We’re going to go fast or we’re not going to go at all, keep up!”

When it comes time for an important decision, I’ll say “I don’t know about you guys, but I know about this one thing and I think we should do it. Let me explain it to you first.

If your team is under stress and a senior leader is trying to calm them down by talking soothingly while they perform their job tasks (which they will sometimes do at their peril), ask them if they would prefer that the leader talk more loudly or less loudly. If the latter is preferred, blow whistles; if the former is preferred, keep on speaking normally; if neither is preferred (and therefore all of the above are), then find another quiet place for them to work.

Those are just a few of my favourites (and I hardly speak as authority). Hopefully these examples show that there are many ways of motivating your team that can help get more from them (and also earn more from them).

Encouraging team members to set and achieve goals

Motivation is something you can’t really quantify, but as a general rule it has to do with the quality of your support and your own desire to do what you feel is right.

To some extent, you can measure your team’s motivation by looking at their behaviour (e.g., how many hours they work versus how much time they spend on code), or by measuring their output (e.g., how many bugs they fix compared to the total number of bugs in the codebase). 

But that doesn’t necessarily tell you anything about whether or not they’re feeling good about their work and whether or not they feel like it matters to them…

So, I think that a more effective way to measure motivation is “performance”. Performance means a lot of things depending on who will be measuring it, but for me personally, I think performance means getting results. Getting results means doing what we agreed upon and expected to do when we agreed upon it. More specifically: Not doing what we agreed upon and expected to do when we agreed upon it. 

You know why this is important? Because if someone feels like they’re getting something out of the process instead of just being paid a salary, then they’ll be more inclined to treat their job as an exciting challenge and less likely to just go through the motions as if everything were fine all along. 

There are two ways this can happen: 1) The person’s performance declines over time due to poor habits (perhaps because she’s getting burnt out) 2) The person’s performance goes up due to better habits (perhaps because she’s learning new skills).

The latter scenario is significantly more important than the former one because even if everyone in your organisation performs at a satisfactory level, if nobody feels like contributing… then you’re working against yourself. This isn’t merely a problem for startups; it’s a problem for any business moving forward.

In order for people in any organisation — whether large or small — to feel that there is purpose in their work, there needs to be some sort of product in which everyone feels engaged and invested… not just superficially engaged but with some kind of passion and deep connection with what they are working on. A startup has no product; so there isn’t any product-market fit — no one cares about anything other than themselves and what they want out of life. This lack of focus can lead people down paths which are ultimately self-defeating:

Recognizing and rewarding team members for their achievements

Every product has two modes: production and consumption. The market will be happy with either one or the other; but not both at once. All products are consumed at one time or another in their life cycle… If we can keep our heads out of the clouds when we look into our hearts and minds, we won’t make bad decisions on behalf of our customers or ourselves. 

We should always be thinking about what we want for ourselves first and then for our customers… The most important thing is how well you treat your customers before you worry about how well they are going to treat you… You know the customer better than anybody else does because you know what he wants and where he wants it as long as he doesn’t say it aloud.

This post isn’t meant as a newbie guide on how to motivate people or how to create a comfortable home office or happier teams, etc. Rather this is meant as a way of looking at motivation; one that starts with recognizing that there are indeed different types of motivation (and thus different ways of motivating people) and then looks at ways one can encourage people towards those different types of motivation:

Motivation based on self-interest – We all have motivations based on self-interest (for example: money), some more powerful than others (for example: fame or wealth). This type motivates people towards achieving those things because they are intrinsically motivated by them (and not just out of fear). How do we help motivate people towards self-interest? By focusing on it more than any other type and focusing on motivating them away from other motivations (in other words

Dealing with team members who are not motivated

People need to be motivated, and there are many aspects of that to consider.

It’s easy to say one thing, but not do something else – even in your own mind. I know this sounds like a dumb question, but you can’t get there unless you have some motivation to get started, and it may not be the same kind you have when you started out.

I’m going to discuss three components of motivation: our personal drive, our professional drive and our social drive (or more accurately, our self-drive). Our personal drive is what moves us forward day-to-day; we have a goal and a reason why we want to achieve it. 

This goal can be external or internal – sometimes it’s an external goal (like making money) or sometimes it is internal (such as finding happiness for ourselves). Our professional drive is about getting something done; we want to get up in the morning and get it done. And eventually we want other people to see that work as worth their while too! 

The social drive is what makes us feel good about ourselves – whether that’s just because others think of us as good at something or only because we enjoy interacting with people who think the same way as us.

Aside from these three things, some people need other things from their work life like satisfaction from their job (or colleagues) or fun activities they enjoy during the day. But these things don’t necessarily make them feel any more motivated than someone who doesn’t have any of these things either.

So how do we motivate ourselves? It isn’t always easy (especially when we are stuck on a project), but I would suggest three categories: motivation by personal goals motivation by professional goals motivation by social goals

Motivation by order: ‘I’m gonna do this!’ Motivation by sequence: ‘This is important’ Motivation by consistency: ‘I’ve gotta do this’ Motivation by engagement: ‘I want my work to mean something.’ The first two are very different from each other. 

Your personal goals will dictate which category you apply them in – for example if your objective is financial independence then your professional goals will be driven by your salary check-ins and leads/customer service interaction – but if you really don’t care about having money then you’ll use social goals instead (for example maybe some sort of volunteer opportunity).


I’m a firm believer in the idea that everyone needs to be motivated to succeed. It’s a really important part of success (and yet it is often ignored), and it’s often neglected in the process of building teams.

The root of this problem is threefold:

1) There are too many people who are at the same level of skill and ability, which results in competition for resources. This is where I believe motivation comes into play: if everyone thinks they need to be motivated (and can provide it), there will be more people who need to be motivated. And if everyone needs to be motivated, then we’ve got some serious problems on our hands.

2) People are not mutually motivated; they only want to succeed when those around them do, too. If a group of people is only successful when other groups succeed, then that incentivizes people not to compete against each other and instead just trust each other and work as a group. 

But if you don’t have any competition, you can convince yourself that it doesn’t matter how hard you work or how much you contribute, because nobody else cares enough about you or your work! The situation becomes even worse when your team members don’t see themselves as competitors with the rest of their team but instead as co-workers whose success depends on the success of others.

3) People often aren’t very self-motivated; they don’t feel good about their accomplishments or their contributions unless someone else deserves it too – which encourages them to take credit for things they didn’t actually do themselves.

By sophiale

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