6 JANUARY, 2023


All leaders take on a huge responsibility, whether they are a CEO, a manager, a supervisor or a project team leader. A leader should motivate and inspire others in the team to work to the best of their ability and reach their full potential. But what exactly is the relationship between leadership and motivation? And how can companies provide their management staff with the right resources to foster motivation across all levels of an organisation?

Below we examine eight defining characteristics of a motivating and inspiring leader, and how organisations can empower both current and future leaders to take on a more active role in fostering innovation in the workplace.

Why is knowing how to motivate a team important?

To put it simply, employee motivation is important because it can have a significant impact on an organisation’s success. When employees are motivated, they are more likely to be engaged, productive, and committed to their work. This can contribute to:

Improved performance

Motivated employees can drive the performance of an organisation. A motivated workforce has lower levels of absenteeism, improved relations between management and workers and improved worker performance all of which will increase the productivity of an organisation. Motivated employees are also often more satisfied with their jobs and are more likely to stay with the organisation for a longer period of time, which can reduce the cost and disruption of employee turnover.

Enhanced innovation

Motivation is a major force behind innovative ideas. An employee who is motivated is more likely to identify and exploit opportunities for improvement in the workplace. A ‘can-do’ attitude will spark creativity and imagination – two valuable assets for any workforce.

Improved workplace culture

Employee motivation and organisational culture are closely linked.  Members of a motivated workforce bring commitment, drive and energy to their roles which enhances employee morale and helps to create a positive work culture.

Positive branding

Through the support of inspiring leadership, motivation in the workplace can enhance an organisation’s reputation. A motivated workforce will understand their role in contributing to an organisation’s reputation, which can be extremely beneficial in maintaining strong relationships with stakeholders as well as attracting both customers and potential employees. Motivated employees will become emotionally engaged with their organisation and its brand, subsequently transforming into powerful brand ambassadors.

Highly motivating leaders…

1. Share a common vision and purpose

A leader should create and share an inspiring vision which will motivate their team. The vision should be realistic and attainable so that their entire team will be motivated to work towards achieving the vision.

2. Set clear goals and expectations

One of the most critical leadership skills is knowing how to set well-structured and transparent goals. Project goals should be clear to ensure that team members know what the project is seeking to achieve and what is expected of them. An inspiring leader will establish a clear goal that is specific, achievable, measurable and time bound. This will motivate the team to work harder if they understand and agree with the goal that is set.

3. Encourage employee self-development

A good leader inspires employees to continuously develop their self-management skills and knowledge. Consider introducing rewards, such as promotions or financial rewards, for employees who work on self-development. Encouraging employee self development will help to promote a dynamic team where team members are motivated to work harder and grow professionally.

4. Provide opportunities for collaboration

Collaboration and teamwork are essential for the success of any group or organization. Importantly, it helps team members feel engaged and a part of the work community. Leaders can encourage collaboration between team members by emphasising the connection between teamwork and reaching team goals. Collaboration makes employees feel more engaged and less isolated from the workplace, two precursors for ensuring a healthy working environment.

5. Foster healthy workplaces

A healthy workplace is one where leaders collaborate with employees to improve the health, safety and well being of all team members. Motivating leaders seek to maintain a positive attitude and outlook, which inspires their team to adopt the same positive attitude and outlook. Employees who feel safe, valued and optimistic about their work will feel more engaged in their tasks and responsibilities, which will naturally improve business resilience and productivity over time.

6. Give positive feedback and reward hard work

Positive feedback is one of the best ways a leader can motivate their team to work harder toward individual and team goals. Praising one employee in front of the team will inspire the whole team to work hard in order to receive praise. Leaders should also offer rewards so that employees have something tangible to work towards.

7. Communicate effectively with employees

Effective leadership and effective teamwork requires effective communication. The best leaders are good communicators who transmit clear information and inspire others to communicate effectively down the reporting chain. A good communicator will also be a good listener who is available to their team to answer questions and offer advice. An inspiring leader will need to be able to communicate with a range of people across different roles and backgrounds.

8. Trust employees with autonomy and self-management

Highly motivating leaders empower their team members by providing them with autonomy and the opportunity to self-manage their work. Giving employees more control over how they complete their tasks will lead to a happier and more productive team.  An employee who is given autonomy is more likely to engage with their work and be inspired to achieve their goals. This in turn will boost business productivity.

Prepare your organisation’s leaders for tomorrow’s workforce

Motivational leadership is a valuable asset to any organisation wanting to embrace new opportunities and tackle both existing and arising challenges. But motivational leadership is not necessarily a natural consequence of strong leadership or collaboration skills. Knowing how to motivate a team takes time, forethought and purposeful training.

DeakinCo. provides organisations with a wide range of innovative training and workforce development solutions that can be customised to complement your organisation and its people. Contact DeakinCo. to find out more about how our leadership programs can empower your organisation’s current and future leaders through purposeful learning initiatives.