Leadership & People Management
15 Ways To Motivate Your Employees as a Manager

15 Ways To Motivate Your Employees as a Manager

15 Ways To Motivate Your Employees as a Manager

Motivation can truly move mountains. That is, corporate mountains, of course. Unless you know of anyone who can turn motivation into giants, in which case they might move actual mountains. And, as a manager, one of your duties is to ensure your team of employees stays motivated at all times.

Yet, that doesn’t happen very often. You see, many managers and leaders come to us with one regret from their workplace. Their teams are just not motivated enough to get the new projects done efficiently. It’s not necessarily a productivity thing, it’s just that they can’t seem to get the employees on the same page. Or on the same mindset.

Alas, I believe that motivating your team is a set process. Sure, folks are motivated by different things at work, but the process is there and it’s pretty straightforward. It’s all about setting a foundation, keeping the team engaged and letting them have some fun, as well as getting the practical stuff done. If you picture this, it’s just like a mountain, with motivation as its mover.

For now, though, let’s start at the peak of a different mountain. The W mountain. What employee motivation entails, and Why you should care about it as a manager.

Understanding The Importance Of Employee Motivation

Look, you don’t need me to tell you employee motivation is essential. You’ve seen how your team performs when the rewards are high. When the motivation is off the roof. What you might need to hear, though, is how important it truly is.

For starters, a motivated team is an efficient one. And I’m not just talking about productivity here. Motivation comes with being excited to work on a project, regardless of how difficult it might be. That’s exactly why your team is always on time and outperforms themselves when the tasks have meaning.

And speaking of that, a motivated employee is a creative one. Even though they don’t have to be the ones brainstorming new ideas, they can definitely help you out, especially if you employ a democratic leadership style.

Above all else, though, a team of motivated employees is a happy team. And they’re happy to work with you on any project; even the boring ones. Besides the personal aspect of this, a happy employee is one who’ll stay on the team for a long time. So, if you’re a manager who focuses on employee turnover and whatnot, this is pretty significant.

Why Should You Keep Your Team Motivated

So many managers just don’t keep their teams motivated. I’ve already covered the Whys above, but what about the Why-nots? Or, rather, what would happen if you don’t keep your team motivated? This will also answer why keeping the team motivated is a must.

For one, morale and motivation go hand-in-hand. They basically mean the same thing if you ask me. If your team isn’t ready to go to war for this brand-new project, then you’re just a commander with no army. A captain with no fleet. The war is lost before the first battle.

On top of that, and on a more realistic note, motivation comes with perks like innovation and a growing team culture. All these fade away when the basis of them, motivation, isn’t present. And, while that doesn’t affect productivity and outputs, it does affect the company’s growth, especially when it’s employee-led.

Plus, on the personal side of things, an unmotivated employee doesn’t grow from within. And as a manager, one of your duties is to ensure that your team grows as people first, employees second.

Yet, it’s the little things that matter in motivation, as we’ll see below. And keeping your team motivated might not be that hard after all!

Purpose Comes First – The 5 Foundational Steps Of Employee Motivation

So, purpose comes first, right? You need to have purpose, a foundation for everything at work. And the same goes for employee motivation. Thankfully, the basis of a motivated employee is not hard to set.


Respect is the first thing you should culminate between yourself and your team. I know, I know, you already respect your team. And they probably respect you. But are you sure about that? Do they know that you have the utmost respect for every single member?

It’s all about actively saying and showing your respect to the team. A simple “I truly respect your efforts” goes a long way toward motivation, especially when one hears it from their manager, their leader, their role model.

Collective Brainstorming

When was the last time you got everyone on a meeting and said, “Forget about our projects, let me hear some ideas for the future of the company”? Chances are that you’ve never done this. And that’s quite alright. Most managers and leaders don’t do so, as well.

But, it’s these collective brainstorming sessions that can truly bring out the inner motivation into an outer action. Making your team feel valued, ensuring that each one’s opinions and ideas are heard. These are essential to keep the team motivated. It gives them a purpose besides doing all the menial tasks.

Feedback Loops

My favorite buzzword of the year: feedback loops. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, feedback loops are great for just about anything in the workplace. Productivity? Feedback loops! Improving self-confidence? Feedback loops!! Increasing the team’s motivation? Feedback loops!!!

And these don’t have to be really brutal, as I’d have otherwise advised. They have to focus on the positives to give each team member an idea that they’re actually doing something. Which is often the truth. And, of course, be prepared to receive some feedback yourself, showing a feeling of equality and bringing the motivation meter even higher.


As always, we need to get into some deeper aspects. And support, be it personal or professional, is one of the things you’ll have to deal with as a manager. You don’t have to be a full-blown psychologist, but you need to listen. Actively listen to what your employees have to say. Have 1-on-1s with them for anything personal.

When they feel that someone’s there for them. Someone’s ready to listen to their problems and help them find solutions. That’s when motivation comes in. For they’ll be by your side as a thank you for the help you’ve provided them with.

Show Interest

And, folks, it’s not all about support. Right above, I said actively listen. That means actually showing interest in what each member is saying. Find out about their goals, understand their potential, see if they’re suffering from any issues like burnout, and help them. But also help them reach their full potential.

It’s when you show this interest that each member sees you from a different perspective. You’re not the old-school manager they were used to. You’re a leader, both professionally and personally. You’re there for the entire team and for each individual, helping them from 0 to 1 and up to 100.

Fun Comes Second – The 5 Ways to Increase Your Team’s Motivation

Creating a work environment that’s not only productive but also enjoyable is vital for sustaining motivation. Let’s explore how fun and engagement can be integrated into your team’s daily routine to keep spirits high.

Spruce Up the Workspace

Ever walked into a workspace that felt more like a playground than an office? That's the vibe we're aiming for. Splash some life into those dull cubicles. Maybe throw in a beanbag or two, some quirky posters, or how about a mini-golf set up in the corner? Your team spends a good chunk of their lives here, so why not make it a place they're excited to come to every morning?

Gifts and Rewards

Nothing says "I appreciate you" better than a well-thought-out gift. And no, I’m not talking about those impersonal company-branded pens. Get creative! Custom trophies for 'Employee of the Month', surprise gift cards, or even an extra day off. The trick is to make these rewards feel personal and genuinely appreciative, not like an afterthought.


Remember those school field trips we used to have? Time to bring that excitement back. Plan retreats that are more than just PowerPoint presentations and group discussions. How about a weekend in the mountains or a day at an amusement park? These outings aren’t just fun; they're gold mines for team bonding and rejuvenating everyone's spirits.

Team Bonding

Speaking of team bonding, why limit it to official retreats? Informal get-togethers, movie nights, or even a team sports league can work wonders. It's all about creating connections beyond work-related tasks. When people bond over shared interests, working together on projects becomes more like hanging out with friends and less of a chore.

Friendly Competitions

Who said the office can't have a bit of competitive spirit? Host friendly competitions – think sales targets, innovation challenges, or even a bake-off. The key here is to keep it light and fun with some cool incentives. It's a great way to break the monotony and get those adrenaline juices flowing.

Practicality Above All Else – 5 Tips To Keep Morale High

Alright, we've talked about foundational steps and adding fun to the workplace. But let's get practical. At the end of the day, it's the practical steps that often make the most significant impact. Here are five tips to keep morale high in a way that’s both effective and pragmatic.

Lead By Example

You’ve heard this a million times, but it’s true. As a manager, you’re the pace car in this race. If you’re enthusiastic, committed, and ethical, guess what? Your team will likely follow suit. It’s about showing up, not just in terms of attendance, but in attitude, effort, and integrity. When the team sees their leader putting in the work and staying positive, it’s infectious. They’ll start to mirror these behaviors, raising the bar for everyone.

Promote Autonomy and Innovation

Here’s a little secret: people love to feel in control of their work. Give your team some autonomy and watch them flourish. Allow them to manage their projects, make decisions, and innovate. It’s like telling them, “I trust you. You’re capable.” This doesn’t just boost their confidence; it ignites their creative spark. And who knows? They might just surprise you with their ingenuity.

Value Work-Life Balance

This one’s huge. Remember, your team members aren’t just employees; they’re people with lives outside of work. Show that you value their time – both in and out of the office. Encourage them to take breaks, use their vacation days, and maintain a healthy work-life balance. It’s simple: a well-rested and happy employee is a motivated and productive one.

Help The Team Grow

People want to feel like they’re progressing in their careers. Offer opportunities for professional development, whether it's training sessions, workshops, or even just regular constructive feedback. Help them set career goals and work towards achieving them. When an employee sees that their manager is invested in their growth, they’re not just motivated; they’re grateful and loyal.

Add Some Flexibility to the Schedule

Last but not least, be flexible. We’re living in a world where the traditional 9-to-5 is becoming increasingly outdated. If possible, offer flexible working hours or the option to work from home. This shows your team that you respect their time and trust them to manage it effectively. Plus, it’s a great morale booster and stress reducer.

How To Effectively Motivate Your Employees as a Manager

In the grand scheme of things, your role as a manager in motivating your team is like being a maestro in an orchestra. It’s not about those once-in-a-blue-moon grand gestures or the odd team outing. Oh no, it’s much more than that. It's about infusing motivation into the everyday fabric of your office life. We're talking about the daily grind, the nitty-gritty of your team's work life.

Think of it this way: you’re not just managing people; you’re cultivating a culture. A culture where respect flies around like confetti, innovation buzzes in the air, and growth? Well, growth is the name of the game. It's about building an environment where these elements aren't just add-ons; they're as essential as your morning coffee.

But here’s the crux of it all – the real art of motivation is in the subtleties of your leadership. It's how you nod in acknowledgment at a job well done, the way you navigate through the stormy seas of challenges, and how you spotlight opportunities for your team to truly dazzle. This isn’t just about keeping the wheels turning; it’s about greasing those wheels so well that your team glides toward success.

Just a Motivator Leader Riding the Wave

You know, your role as a leader is creating a place where your team shows up because they want to. Because they’re motivated. A place where they feel not just recognized but genuinely valued. Where they're not just employees – they're integral parts of a grand vision, your shared vision of what the company can achieve. And at Wave AI, we can help you create that workplace. All you have to do is R.I.D.E. the Wave with our coaches, powered by AI!

Interested in starting working on your goals? Book your first session now.

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