Leadership 101: How To Motivate Employees With Style & Grace

Business.com / Managing / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Leadership 101 involves motivating your employees through recognition, understanding, opportunity, a show of enthusiasm and support.

Understanding how employees operate will ensure that you can motivate them with style and grace. Traditional motivational methods may not be the best option for your team or your industry.

While it can still be nice to offer excellent compensation rates and bonuses when they reach their targets, what do you do when they aren’t reached?

Do you just ignore the efforts that your team has put in or do you praise them for a job well done anyway? Motivation doesn’t just come with extra money though that can be highly motivating.

There are other tips and tricks to ensure that the staff remains motivated and ready for their day.

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Recognition of All Progress

An employee must feel like he or she has accomplished something and that they make a difference. Otherwise, they’ll start to feel burned out and won’t want to do their job. Sometimes, they’ll leave the company without giving a reason, and that reason could just be that they didn’t think they mattered. Therefore, it’s important that you, the owner, and everyone on the corporate ladder acknowledge any progress made, whether or not targets are hit or surpassed. 

Employees can easily feel demotivated if they don’t reach specific goals. However, giving recognition for what they did do will cause them to want to do more later. Because you recognize the work they put in, they will naturally want to do more next time to be recognized again. Recognition plays a vital role in ensuring your employees feel valued. An employee that feels valued is more likely to produce compared to an employee that does not feel valued.

Understanding Why: Employee Purpose

While this tip is primarily for newbies, any employee can benefit from being able to clearly identify why they are where they are within a company and what they’re supposed to be doing. It isn’t enough to tell someone that their job entails this or that. As a leader, you need to paint them a picture and explain to them that why what they are doing on a day to day basis helps the overall team and organization.

When all team members clearly understand what their purpose is, it keeps the company afloat. When they understand why they’re doing what they do, they’ll be more motivated to continue doing it because they are working to achieve a larger goal that will benefit not only themselves but also the entire organization.

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Career Development: Opportunity

No one wants to sit at the bottom of the ladder their entire lives, so you should make it easy for them to climb that corporate ladder and reach the top. When they feel encouraged to develop their skills, you show that you are interested in them and have faith that they will succeed.

You should also continue to reinforce their current role in the organization and keep them wanting more so they do not get sidetracked in the meantime thinking about climbing the ladder too fast. Therefore, when you have job vacancies, it may be best to hire from within so that they can continue to move forward and current employees can grow within your company.


A leader that comes to work with enthusiasm each day is a committed leader that cares and carries with them a positive light and bolts of energy that encourages and fosters a safe and thriving environment wherever they go. Ensuring you are being genuinely enthusiastic about helping your staff reach their goals is key! Your employees will find the enthusiasm contagious and their productivity will increase.

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Resources and Support

As a leader, it is your job to provide the resources and support that your employee’s need to perform their job. Here are a few things you can do to show them you are providing them with the support they need. 

  • Encourage Teamwork: team member’s expertise and knowledge in certain niches within the company can be an invaluable resource that is readily available to other team members in need.
  • Be Available: Being available to help your team is key to showing them that you value them and also providing them with your own industry knowledge and expertise.
  • Be Supportive: A team that feels supported will gain confidence and improved attitudes. This will lead to greater communication within your organization that can help foster new ideas.
  • Provide Feedback: A leader that provides valuable feedback to their staff shows that they care. Showing that you care, again makes your team members feel valued. The feedback that you provide will also be a great stepping stone for your staff to improve their day to day activities, leading to an increase in productivity.

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