How Do You Motivate YOUR Team?

circus elephant
How do you motivate your team? (Flickr)

Research in motivation theory has been dedicated to the discovery of how to stimulate performance in the workplace.

Most theories line up with the notion that there are intrinsic and extrinsic factors that lead to the motivation of a worker. There is a strong research foundation in motivation theory found in psychology, anthropology and even economic theory (Rational Man).

Jesus directly addressed motivation theory in His Sermon on the Mount. He taught that even good things could be done with the wrong motives. Jesus taught specifically about giving, prayer and fasting and our driving motivations.

The Sermon on the Mount certainly applies in the workplace. We hope that workers are self-motivated, but leaders give considerable thought and planning the "how-to's" of motivating workers.

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

As a lifelong student of motivation theory, I tremble at the notion of suggesting I have something to add to the literature on motivation. But, I think I understand one of the essential elements that must be present for motivation to occur.

Before I offer my suggestion, first consider the "corporate convention" as a tool of motivation. I've gathered in many convention cities, been housed in multiple starred hotels, and eaten the finest foods. I've been entertained at conventions by Chicago, Neil Diamond, Tony Bennett and various other high-level song and dance peeps. I've heard from the finest motivational speakers including Tony Robbins, Lou Holtz, Zig Ziglar, Joe Girard and many other pontificators.

I've endured pompoms, balloons, circus acts and cheerleaders. My list is only a sampling of things I've seen done in conventions to motivate teams and their leaders.

Aside from the obvious spiritual vacuum, most conventions lack content or substance. Conventions are targeted to make me "feel motivated." I may leave the convention floor with more zip in my hip, but energy fades away before the convention invoice has been paid. 

The music stops, balloons pop and motivation drops to a baseline level.

Motivation recipes must include method.

When we teach or demonstrate HOW to do a thing, it's more likely for motivation to improve and sustain. It's hard to get excited about a job function I do not understand. Error leads to a conditional "give up."

Leaders motivate their teams by providing the ways and means of improved performance. I love watching a toddler learn a new thing. The response of a child should be instructional to leaders:

"I can do it.  Let me do it."  

Those screams seem to be the fruit of a motivated worker. Motivation becomes sustainable by continuous training. Effective leaders teach and model continuous improvement.

What about the worker who isn't motivated to learn or improve?

Well then, there's the circus. Someone has to ride the elephant out of town.

"Be sure that you not do your charitable deeds before men to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Therefore, when you do your charitable deeds, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do your charitable deeds, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deeds may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly" (Matt. 6:1-4).

Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His book, Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, is now available.

Leaders, Dr. Greene wants to help you understand the spiritual connection between relationships and productivity. Read his new blog, here.

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing stories, teachings, and conversations with guests who lead with love on Love Leads, a new podcast. Listen now.

Dr. Mark Rutland's

National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)

The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. taught by Dr. Mark Rutland. If you're the type of leader that likes to have total control over every aspect of your ministry and your future success, the NICL is right for you!

FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.

Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you’re not growing? Do you need help from an expert in leadership? There is no other leadership training like the NICL. Gain the leadership skills and confidence you need to lead your church, business or ministry. Get ready to accomplish all of your God-given dreams. CLICK HERE for NICL training dates and details.

The NICL Online is an option for any leader with time or schedule constraints. It's also for leaders who want to expedite their training to receive advanced standing for Master Level credit hours. Work through Dr. Rutland's full training from the comfort of your home or ministry at your pace. Learn more about NICL Online. Learn more about NICL Online.

Charisma Leader — Serving and empowering church leaders