XL Coaching

motivation, motivate, leadership, manage

Motivation: How Do I Give It? How Do I Get It?

motivation, motivate, leadership, manageResearch has shown that only 25% of all employees are performing at their full potential.
Research has also shown that up to 67% of managers struggle with trying to motivate people to perform, deal with problems and juggle workloads.
To quote one manager, “If I could get someone else to look after my staff, this would be a great job! – Keith McGregor, Director, Personnel Psychology NZ

1. Motivation: How do I give it, so that employees perform to their full potential?

2. Motivation: How do I get it, so that I can stay on top of my game?


1. Motivation: How do I give it, so that employees perform to their full potential?

A question I am constantly asked by Executives, Managers and Team Leaders within organisations is ‘how do I motivate my people?’
The answer: You don’t, they’re already motivated!
Not exactly the answer you’re looking, I know, however let me explain:

Think back to your own experience of when you first joined the company that you now work for, or when you first set up your own business? How motivated did you feel? – 100%, right? You probably felt a bit nervous too but you were definitely urging to go for it.
The leadership challenge is to maintain the motivation that individuals bring to the organisation when they first join, and to not switch them off so they perform at their full potential. How do we do this? By creating a motivating environment that switches people on.

Let’s begin by looking at what switches people on – besides money – from going to work:

  • We want a chance to do good work and a sense of achievement
  • We want our work to make a difference and a sense of fulfilment
  • We want to make a contribution and to feel that we are a part of something
  • We want to learn, master new skills and grow

This might sound idealistic, however, isn’t this what we all want? You feel these motivations and so do the people who work with you! People also feel that they have some basic rights in the work place:

  • The right to some control over their actions
  • The right to be respected, trusted, listened to and supported
  • The right to be treated fairly
  • The right to have our effort recognised and our good work rewarded
  • The right equipment, materials and training to do our work properly

If you’re a leader and want to get the most out of your people, you must make sure that your staff get these things. Do that and you’ll have 100% motivated team members.

People’s individual aspirations and needs can also vary. If you suspect that someone in your team isn’t feeling motivated, have the confidence to:

  • Ask what they really want to achieve in the workplace – and LISTEN
  • Ask what they need to achieve it – and LISTEN
  • Help them to achieve it!

Whilst you may not be able to give individuals exactly what they want every time, you will be surprised at how often people’s aspirations align to company goals and most people are willing to listen to sound reasoning about why an organisation can’t afford to purchase a new computer system right now. Opening up this type of discussion enables the beginning of win:win communication and by listening to your team you also build relationship and that is motivating!


2. Motivation: How do I get it, so that I can stay on top of my game?

I once coached a General Manager who said, ‘Don’t give me any of that personal coaching, I want you to help me to motivate my staff.’ By the second coaching session we were working on ways to communicate that ‘switch people on’ when the BFO (blinding flash of obviousness) hit home, ‘Aha, you’re giving me personal coaching, aren’t you!?’ Bingo! Phew. And he went on to refer other Managers within his organisation to coaching.

Motivating others begins with self-awareness of how your communication style and behaviour impact on the people in your team. People are affected by the leader’s energy and enthusiasm, or lack of it! To bring out the best in others you need to feel on top of your game and here’s how:

Being at the top, leaders can miss out on positive feedback. Give your self a sense of achievement by journalling your achievements daily.

Get what you need. If you need more time, delegate more and say ‘no’ more often. If you need more resources or staff, ask!

Take immediate action to resolve every problem and situation that is bugging you. If you can’t change it, accept it. If this is a struggle, hire a personal coach to help you alleviate the stress, or make a transition.

Get clear about what you want in your career and your life. The bigger picture gives us reason to stay motivated.

Keep learning. You’ve accepted the call of leadership. You’re meant to be evolving.

Journal – 10 daily habits that keep you motivated – and fit these into your daily schedule.


‘The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.’  – Walt Disney

At XL Coaching, we want to spur you to grow and achieve new results and now call upon you to take action:

  • How will you apply what you have learnt this month?
  • What are you now prepared to do differently?
  • Who can support you in this?
  • Who else do you know is a leader or has leadership potential? We encourage you to be a catalyst in their development by referring them to the XL Coaching Blog.