How to Motivate Your Team as a Line Manager

Studies show that workers are more productive when they are happy. Motivation cartoon

Motivating your team and enthusiastic is a crucial task for all line managers.

The difficulty is that different things drive different people.

To compound the problem, these drivers can change over time.

This article looks at some tried and tested ways to motivate a team and some pitfalls you should avoid.

Looking for a comprehensive rundown of all things Line Manager? Come along to one of our top-rated line managers skills course!

What Is Motivation?

Motivation is the drive a person has to achieve their goals.

In part, this drive will be innate or intrinsic. Different people are born with different levels of drive.

However, drive can also be generated extrinsically.

This is what a line manager needs to focus on generating.

The most significant contributors to extrinsic team motivation are:

  • Work environment
  • Management style
  • Rewards

By encouraging team members to maximise their effort, a line manager can improve their team’s productivity at zero cost, ultimately increasing its profits.



 7 Ways To Motivate Your Team

Let’s look at some ways a line manager can inspire their team.

1. Set clear, achievable goals

Clarity is essential in all areas of business.

Staff are likely to be much more motivated if they understand precisely what the company is trying to achieve, and how they can help meet those expectations.

By setting clear targets with measurable progress, staff can see the impact of their performance. This helps them to engage with the project and gives a sense of satisfaction upon completion.

2. Provide constructive feedback

 When you provide staff with constructive feedback, you show that you want to help them succeed and will invest time to help them do so.

Whether you explain how they can improve or praise them for a job well done, offering your team members constructive feedback is an excellent way to motivate them.

If a team member can see that you are invested in their performance and want to help them succeed, they are much more likely to work hard to repay your faith.

Giving constructive feedback is also very important for reducing team conflict!

3. Reward good performance

Some personalities are motivated by the feeling of achievement after reaching a target.

The prospect of bonuses and staff days out can be an excellent way of driving your team towards success.

It can also be a great way to increase morale and build a sense of camaraderie as everyone works towards a common goal.

Of course, rewards don’t always have to be material.

Praise for a job well done is an excellent way of recognising good performance.

If one of your team members reaches a target, make sure that they feel appreciated by acknowledging their achievement, ideally publicly in front of your whole team.

4. Encourage their personal development

People tend to be more motivated if they can see that you care about them.

One way of showing this is taking an active interest in their personal development.

Offering guidance on career advancement, sending them on training courses and setting SMART goals can provide motivation.

5. Build a sense of team spirit

A team that works well together will be more motivated to achieve their mutual goals.

Encouraging your staff to collaborate will make them feel more appreciated and more invested in the company’s success.

If team members get on well, it makes for a happier office – leading to higher productivity.

Occasional social events can help team members to bond and enjoy each other’s company more.

6. Show leadership

As a manager, you set the standard for your team.

Ensure that you lead from the front and show that you’re motivated and excited to be at work – smile, be positive and proactive.

Your approach will rub off on your team members.

7. Develop trust

Good working relationships rely on trust.

If a team member doesn’t trust you, they won’t want to work for you.

Developing trust takes time but pays huge dividends.

The 80:20 of building trust is – do what you say and say what you do – but if you’d like to learn more, see our article: Ways To Build Trust In A Virtual Team.


Virtual team having meeting

2 Mistakes To Avoid

Let’s look at a couple of behaviours that are guaranteed to kill your team’s motivation.

1. Micromanaging

Taking an interest in how your team are doing is essential, but don’t overdo it.

Constantly interfering with an employee’s work comes across as not trusting them to do their work correctly, adding to their stress.

For more details, see: A Complete Guide To Micromanagement

2. Misunderstanding individual motivations

Don’t assume that all employees are motivated in the same way.

While financial bonuses or other perks drive some people, others are energised by the satisfaction of achieving a set goal.

Offering financial rewards to someone driven by reaching goals and vice versa can reduce their motivation rather than increase it.

What Changes When You Lead A Remote Team?

Motivating your team remotely requires a slightly different approach.

The lack of in-person interaction makes communication and team bonding more difficult.

Problems you might encounter include:

1. Technical issues

Team members may struggle with IT problems that lead to reduced productivity and inevitable frustration.

Keep these issues to a minimum by making technical requirements as simple as possible and ensuring your IT department is ready to deal with problems as they arise.

Also, by being proactive and making sure that they are correctly set up, you show that you care about them and their work environment.

2. Miscommunication

Communicating remotely can be problematic. 

Tone can easily be misconstrued in emails and cause misunderstandings.

Encourage people to use video conferencing software to maximise the sense of being a team, but make allowances where possible for each staff member’s preferred method of communication.

Team having argument


What Changes If Your Team Is Burned Out?

A lot of teams are feeling burned out currently.

The basics of motivating a team don’t change because of this. 

However, there are a few additional steps that you should consider.

1. Underline the importance of a work/life balance

Working from home makes it difficult to separate your working life from your private life.

Encourage your team to set boundaries.

If they can’t set physical boundaries by confining their work to a specific room, they should start and finish at set times, take regular breaks and completely switch off from work outside of working hours.

2. Be more flexible

Allowing staff to structure their working hours (within reason) around their other priorities and passions can benefit both the employee and the business.

If a team member feels like their employer cares about them and supports them, they will be happier, more motivated and more productive.

3. Promote staff wellbeing

A good line manager should encourage staff to focus on their well-being to reduce the level of burnout in their team over time.

Although this will lead to a long-term dip in productivity, it will pay back many times over in reduced absence and staff turnover in the medium term.

The best way to do this will vary from individual to individual.

It could be anything from setting up virtual mindfulness classes to advising them to take an hour off to go for a run.

Man going for a run


Final Thoughts 

Motivation is vital to the performance of your team.

As a line manager, you should do everything within your power to foster an environment where people are inspired to give their best every day.

If your team feel trusted, respected and valued, they are much more likely to achieve great results.

Using the tips we have discussed above will keep your team engaged and happy, and you should see the benefits in no time.

Picture Credits: Pexels, Pexels, Pexels, Pexels


About Ben Richardson

Ben is a director of Acuity Training which he has been running for over 10 years.

He is a Natural Sciences graduate from the University of Cambridge and a qualified accountant with the ICAEW.

He previously worked as a venture capitalist and banker and so had extensive experience with Excel from building financial models before moving to learn SQL, Microsoft Power BI and other technologies more recently.