Fostering motivation in teams

motivation, lead

Running a business can be compared to managing a football team. Each day we get the chance to play a game and we each need to individually play our role in helping the team succeed against the opposition. In order to succeed however, you need to have motivation.

Motivation is the fuel that drives behaviours. It puts fire in bellies and when combined with structure, it helps drive innovation, fast growth and success within businesses.

Here are some quick and simple tips to help small-business owners foster motivation in teams.

Have a purpose bigger than the business

Motivation starts with a purpose that is greater than the nine-to-five. In business, a purpose is the reason for existence that goes beyond making a profit. It unites employees and gives them a cause to show up for each day that is greater than just a pay cheque. Often a purpose is linked to a societal problem, something “bigger” than just the business. Find your purpose and clearly communicate it to your employees.

Align structure to long-term happiness, not short-term goals

Like a sugar hit, motivation can peak one minute and drop rapidly the next. Having a strong and robust business structure that aligns to long-term happiness, rather than short-term goals, helps fill the gaps and stabilise levels of motivation, even when it naturally dips in the cycle.

Set expectations and define individual success

Defining each employee’s role and expectations sounds simple but it is something that is often forgotten about or overlooked. It’s important that all employees understand what success looks like within their role and how they play into the bigger vision of the business.

Explicitly outlining the parameters of what success looks like in that role from the get-go, as well as ensuring they understand what it means to do a ‘good job’, helps place trust and autonomy on that employee. When employees feel trusted, their motivation automatically increases.


Clear and honest communication is crucial not only for motivation, but also business success. As a business owner, be explicit about what is most important; important to you and important to the business. Take away any ambiguity and put the focus on what needs to be done.

Encourage a decision with conviction

My mantra in business is to ‘make a decision and take ownership’. It’s something I personally try to instill in all my staff. As a business owner, if employees are constantly waiting for approval, it slows things down. Encourage employees to have belief and confidence to move forward with their decision (within the boundaries of their ability). This improves trust and which in turn drives motivation.

Enforce a no “BS” culture

The environment of a business can have a huge impact on the morale of staff. For example, a toxic workplace negatively affects confidence and the enthusiasm of employees, ultimately resulting in poor output. Create an environment whereby honest, genuine feedback is met with a focus on continuous improvement in a positive manner. This will ensure that teams are motivated and consistently strive for the best possible outcomes.