#259 from R&D
Innovator Volume 6, Number 2
Kim, president of TurtlePress, is author of 1001
Ways to Motivate Yourself and Others (Turtle Press,
Wethersfield, Connecticut, 1995). He can be reached at (860)529-7770 or by email at email@example.com.
striving towards a common goal works best when motivated as a
team. Team spirit, camaraderie, goal setting and pulling together
in the last dash for the finish line, are all powerful group
motivators. In fact,
the feelings we get as part of a team are more powerful motivators
than actually reaching the goal itself.
The satisfaction of a job well done or a best effort is
more lasting than any prize or trophy. Encourage
your team to enjoy the process, and watch as they run headlong to
Below, are a few
tips to guide you on the road to creating and maintaining a team
with a winning attitude and a desire to succeed, even during rough
the Groundwork for a Motivated Team
Have a team
mission that is the basis of the team’s actions.
State the mission in writing and restate it, especially
when changes occur.
When working with
a team whose members are new to your management style, or who come
from diverse backgrounds, consider distributing team rules or
the rules as a group, and enforce them without bias once they’re
At the outset,
invite successful people in the field to instruct or talk to your
team. Have them give
an “I did it, and so can you” message.
Talk with other
successful team leaders. Look
at other people with personalities similar to yours, and study
their management style. Find
a style that you will be comfortable with.
is significantly increased when:
atmosphere in which individual team members are willing to make
personal sacrifices for the good of the team, starting with
yourself as a role model.
Get motivation by
getting everyone involved. Most
people cannot always be star players, but all can make meaningful
contributions if you put them to work in their strongest area. A
team member becomes enthusiastic when his or her idea advances
progress towards the goal.
Create pride and
spirit by pointing out what the team, as a whole, is especially
good at. Your team
doesn’t have to be the world’s best in the field, but you can
still focus on areas where you do have strength. Find
ways to measure this excellence.
For example, you may be able to perform a certain analysis
faster, and with greater sensitivity, than any other (or most)
If your team
enjoys the process, motivation becomes intrinsic.
With a team of
strong personalities, harmony sometimes seems impossible. But you can control this by setting goals and rewards for
everyone to reach their best performance.
You need to indicate clearly that competition within the
group should never be a detriment to achieving the team’s
members to resolve differences, even if they cannot be entirely
cohesiveness by ensuring that:
works equally hard
Don’t ask your
team to fight marginally important battles—they squander
valuable morale and resources.
Push team members
to their full potential, but never forget to respect their
times, encourage team members to stick together for moral support.
Defuse rebels and
dissenters before they take down team morale.
Point out errors
without placing blame.
signs that team spirit is faltering:
team members are lazy
Setting your team
off on the right foot is a huge step towards success, but it’s
not a guarantee. The
motivational mindset of your team is a daily tide that ebbs and
flows with the currents of each day’s successes and failures.
Keeping your finger on the pulse of your team’s
motivation is vital to becoming an effective team leader.