How to Motivate Your Team



Managers play a huge role in whether their employees are excited to come to work every day. (That's actually one of my goals as a manager.) The climate we create is far more important than extrinsic rewards like pay and awards--except when we are getting it wrong on pay and awards. It is critical that we as managers provide our teams clarity about the organization's mission, opportunities to develop the job knowledge and skills, and some control over how they do their work.






Dan Pink: The Puzzle of Motivation


Cover of Drive

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

By Daniel Pink

Daniel Pink brilliantly makes the case that traditional extrinsic rewards (bonuses, awards, etc.) do not generate the kind of motivation that drives great performance. Instead, he argues that three key variables--Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose--are the keys to making people want to put their heart into their work. Some of the more extreme private sector examples he cites might be a reach in government, but all government managers have the ability to give their direct reports more autonomy about how they do their work, support them as they master their jobs, and instill a sense of greater purpose in their work. A great read. Read More...

Cover of Intrinsic Motivation at Work

Intrinsic Motivation at Work: What Really Drives Employee Engagement

By Kenneth W. Thomas

This book provides an exceptionally useful framework for understanding the factors that energize employees and prompt them to put more effort and creativity into their work. A must-read for any manager who is concerned about morale and wishes to increase every employee's level of commitment.    Read more...

Managing Government Employees: How to Motivate Your People, Deal with Difficult Issues and Achieve Tangible Results

By Stewart Liff

Drawing on his 30 years of real world experience as an HR professional, manager, and Senior Executive in the Federal Government, Stewart Liff provides many great tactics, case studies and stories that debunk common perceptions that government managers have of the government's personnel system. Liff argues that government managers can make the system work effectively, provided they know the rules, set high expectations, and approach problems with integrity and courage. Includes excellent chapters on dealing with difficult people, recognizing excellent performance, working effectively with unions, and handling attendance problems. This book should be required reading for all supervisors in government.  Read More...

Great Motivation Secrets of Great Leaders

By John Baldoni

Excellent discussion of the many leadership practices that help create an environment conducive to motivation.  The author encourages leaders to lead by example, communicate, challenge, empower, coach, recognize, sacrifice and inspire.  Each of these principles is illustrated with compelling stories of great leaders, including Col. David Hackworth, Frances Hesselbein, and Ernest Shackleton.  Read an excerpt from the book.   Read more...


Cover of "First, Break All the Rules"

First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently

By Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman

Gallup interviewed over 80,000 managers to find out what differentiates great managers from average ones.  The authors distilled this data down and identified 12 key factors that form the foundation of all great management strategies.  This book has a wealth of terrific insights, including a useful section on the importance of putting people in jobs that match their talents.  Highly recommended simply because all managers need to understand the 12 key factors.

Cover of "How Full is Your Bucket?"

How Full is Your Bucket?

By Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton

This short book has a message that is as valuable as it is simple: look for the good in people and praise it.  The authors cite numerous studies that have shown that people are far more motivated and productive when their self-esteem is high due to praise and positive feedback.  On the other hand, when people go around emptying the "emotional buckets" of others, they invariably poison the chemistry in the workplace and destroy everyone's morale (including their own) in the process.  This book makes a very compelling case for using a predominantly positive approach to interpersonal relations in the workplace--and getting rid of poisonous personalities.  Read More...

1001 Ways to Reward Employees

By Bob Nelson

This is an extremely handy book for any manager who is trying to find effective ways to provide recognition to his/her employees.  The author covers a huge array of possibilities for formal and informal rewards, as well as performance-based awards.  The book is well organized and has hundreds of anecdotes describing creative techniques that supervisors in different companies have used effectively to show their appreciation to employees. Read More...