Motivation develops internally from a desire to achieve goals that are important to both the individual and the company. It is the force that prompts action. If you are having trouble motivating your team to achieve your goals, you are probably failing to understand theirs.

While pay, benefits and working conditions are important, research shows that they have no long-term effects on motivation. The things that do have an effect are recognition, sense of achievement, growth, participation, challenge and identification with the company’s goals and vision.

In spite of these facts, executive leaders and managers still use fear and incentives as motivational tools. Fear can be highly motivating, but does not produce positive results for any length of time. Incentives, on the other hand, are positive motivators—rewards in exchange for specific behaviors, but also have diminishing returns as employees expect fair compensation based on their contributions. Eventually, a disconnect forms between what the employee desires and what the employer is willing to pay.

Here are 9 ideas proven to provide for long-term motivation:

  1. Outline a clear vision. Identify your company and department goals and objectives. Make sure everyone understands how to help achieve those goals.
  2. Give regular compliments. Make an effort to compliment each of your direct reports on (at least) a weekly basis.
  3. Prioritize employee development. Make employee development and retention a primary objective of each manager and executive leader, and reward their success accordingly.
  4. Ask for input. Ask employees for advice in areas where they have expertise.
  5. Include employees in goal setting. Involve everyone at all levels in goal setting and strategic planning, particularly if they are responsible for the results.
  6. Treat everyone with dignity and respect. Pretty self-explanatory.
  7. Stand behind your employees and back their decisions. Also, let employees learn from their mistakes.
  8. Listen. Take time to listen carefully to other people’s interests, opinions, concerns and goals.
  9. Encourage employees to expand their comfort zone. Help them look for new ways to meet their personal goals and expand their skills.

What motivates you? What does that tell you about how you can effectively motivate your employees?

Howard Shore is an executive leadership coach who works with companies that need leadership development and business management coaching. Based in Miami, Florida, Howard’s firm, Activate Group, Inc. provides strategic planning and management coaching to businesses across the country. To learn more about executive leadership coaching through AGI, please visit, contact Howard at (305) 722-7216 or email him.

Business Coach, Business Execution, Executive Coaching, Leadership, Motivation

About Howard M. Shore

Howard M. Shore is a Certified Gazelles Coach, Certified Public Accountant Certified Executive Coach, Certified Behavioral Analyst, Certified Values Analyst, and Certified Attributes Index Analyst. He has earned Bachelor and MBA degrees from Florida International University, and completed advanced executive programs at Harvard Law School and the University of Chicago.