By Jim Wong, CPA | June 15, 2016


“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

For some managers and leaders, especially in the accounting, finance and IT professions, finding ways to motivate your teams can be tricky. As with most professions, there are likely differences in personality, skill and experience level among your team—what motivates one person might not motivate another.

That’s why it’s important to find innovative ways to balance these differences and lead your team effectively.

In today’s corporate culture, many managers and leaders turn to third party providers or consultants to assist with motivating their teams. While there is value attributed to these external programs, often times there lies a simpler way of inspiring people—by tapping into their strengths.

I recently read a LinkedIn Pulse article, How To Kill Your Team’s Motivation Without Really Trying that addresses this topic, and I wanted to share with you some of the author’s tips along with a few of my own in the 7 Ways to Motivate Your Team below.

1. Have a plan and share it with your team. 
This is an important tip that works best when implemented from the beginning. In order for a team to be motivated, every member must be on the same page and that starts with setting expectations. Create a plan and share it with your team so that everyone knows the goals and how they need to achieve them both individually and as a team.

2. Know your team’s roles.
Similar to the first tip, it’s essential for everyone to be on the same page. By clearly defining each team member’s role, managers and leaders can eliminate any confusion about who is doing what. By defining roles and responsibilities, effective leaders can ensure that no team member feels overworked on underappreciated.

3. Address conflict directly.
At one point or another, conflict can occur in the workplace from both a team member and / or manager perspective. Instead of shying away from talking about any issues that arise, effective managers and leaders should address the problem promptly and directly before it becomes an even bigger challenge.

4. Stay transparent. 
As I mentioned in the previous step, effective leaders will want to nix office gossip before it begins by remaining transparent with the team. If a leader knows that there is an elephant in the room, he or she should address it with colleagues as quickly as possible. This openness allows colleagues to see that their managers and leaders care about keeping them engaged and happy—which also instills trust. Even if there is a situation that a manager does not have control over, simply opening up the table for discussion can benefit all.

5. Cut the red tape. 
In some situations, it’s impossible to avoid the red tape that often comes with dealing with processes and procedures. However, effective leaders can benefit by simplifying as much as they can. For example, within teams, managers can optimize productivity by eliminating a lengthy approval process. When team members are forced to wait for constant approvals and navigate confusing policies, their motivation can decrease.

6. Keep open communication. 
This is arguably one of the most important ways to keep morale up on a team. Team members appreciate being in the know instead of being left in the dark. Similar to remaining transparent, open communication can be helpful to team members because it shows that their managers and leaders are invested in them and care about motivating them as a whole.

7. Take a break. 
Often times on the rigorous road to achieving a goal, there’s potential for burnout. Avoid this by encouraging teammates to take a break every now and then. When managers and leaders encourage their colleagues to clear their heads, motivation can become even higher. In fact, when professionals take a step back from a project or other work, they often return with more energy and focus.

These are only a few of the innovative ways to get your team moving towards success. Do you have any other motivational tips? Comment below to share your thoughts!


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