You’ve assembled the most talented group of employees you can, personally hiring many of them or seeing them in action on other problems. You’re paying them amazing salaries, and have weekly pep talks to try to stir them to even greater levels of creativity and productivity. Still, their performance just is not where you think it could be, and you aren’t sure how to raise the bar and get them to perform to the best of their capability.

The problem may be that this group of outstanding people are not properly inspired and motivated. You need to evaluate your own performance as their leader, and determine just how you could change your leadership style to inspire the greatness you know each of them holds inside. But how do you accomplish this? After all, you are already paying them well and setting very clear expectations of where you want them to be as a team; what more could they ask for?

Motivating employees takes much more than this, so you need to evaluate some key areas of your leadership and management styles and see where changes can or should be made.

It Ain’t All About the Money, Honey

A steady paycheck and good benefits are an important part of keeping good talent motivated, but that isn’t the only part that’s important. Before we go much further, let me just say this: don’t expect your employees to work for nothing! If their salary isn’t competitive with their industry, you should consider changing that to make it competitive.

All the money in the world doesn’t mean a thing, though, if the work you are asking your people to perform does not seem to be meaningful to them. If you want to inspire your employees to greatness, you need to let them know why what they’re doing will be meaningful. Your employees need to feel as if they are a part of something bigger than they are, and that they are both needed and challenged.

What Difference Can I Make?

If your employees do not feel needed, they may wonder why they should even bother making an effort. If they feel that anybody could do what you are asking of them, and that they don’t have anything to personally invest in the project, then they will lack the motivation to meet those needs and invest their time and energy in your project.

Be sure you share what you know about the business plans, so your employees know where they fit into the equation. If they know where the business is headed, they can know how they can contribute to the business’s success. This means a lot to an employee, because it tells them how important they are to the success of the business. This sense of importance is a great way to motivate and inspire your employees to excel.

But I’m Bored!

On the other hand, if they feel needed but not challenged, they will quickly become bored and look for other ways to be challenged. This can mean a lack of focus on a particular task or, even worse, a desire to seek a job elsewhere that will offer some sense of personal challenge. Always inspire your employees to extend their boundaries and seek higher levels of greatness, and they will feel challenged and ready to take on that challenge.

Help your employees find their own personal qualities that enhance their performance, and aid them in strengthening those qualities. Make sure they demonstrate some key personal qualities of employees who are motivated towards greatness:

  • Realistic optimism. They should have a positive sense of what they are capable of, but still be realistic about their own limitations.
  • A sense of pride. If an employee takes pride in his/her work, he/she will perform much better than an employee with little or no pride in their work.
  • Mutual trust with managers. If an employee can trust the management, they are much more likely to share their dreams and fears. This also helps them stay motivated towards improvement.

Motivated employees will also be excellent managers of their own time, will take constructive criticism well, and will take steps to avoid getting “burned out” on the job. This is why paid time off is so important; allowing employees time to “recharge” on vacation or personal leave time is one of the keys to avoiding burn out, so make sure these programs are adequate for your team members.

Throw Open the Doors!

If you really want your employees to be motivated, let them know you are always available for them. Open-door management does more than just foster transparency and trust, it also helps inspire employees to remain motivated. Not only do they realize that you can see through that door, they can see through it too—and so they can see how hard you are working for them. This is tremendously important to motivating employees, since a good leader should never ask more of his/her employees than he/she is willing to contribute.

You should also throw open the doors to the business, and allow your employees the opportunity to take real ownership in the company’s success. Stock ownership programs, profit-sharing, and pride are important factors to consider adding into the equation of getting your employees to be the best they can be.


These are some important factors for fostering more motivation in the workplace. Motivating people involves much more than just monetary compensation. It also involves a fair amount of people skills, leading them to greatness, and helping them feel that their performance actually means something. It is also important for employees to feel challenged, because this helps prevent boredom from setting in.

By following these simple guidelines, you can find your employees performance and innovation improving dramatically. You will finally get to see the performance you knew your team was capable of, and will take pride yourself in knowing that you have led your team to do great things.