Project Grow

6 Ways to Motivate Employees -- or Anyone -- in Your Life to Do Something

Getting people to reach for more in their lives and work begins with asking them what it is important to them.
6 Ways to Motivate Employees -- or Anyone -- in Your Life to Do Something
Image credit: Musketeer | Getty Images
VIP Contributor
Entrepreneur and Connector
6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Are you able to inspire and motivate yourself, your employees and other people around you?

It’s a challenge that everyone from business owners to parents have struggled to answer. The good news, is that if you use these tips, you’ll be able to successfully motivate others to do whatever you ask of them.

Related Video: How to Stay Motivated When Running a Business

1. Promote purpose.

Purpose is an intrinsic motivator, which means that you will be focusing on yourself and your organization’s purpose. Helping others discover what motivates them and how they contribute to your outcomes provides both of you with a sense of purpose.

In the workplace, for example, research from Imperative found that purpose-oriented workers stay with organizations 20 percent longer. These employees` are 50 percent more likely to be in leadership positions and 47 percent more likely to promote other people's work. These employees report having higher levels of fulfillment in their work by 64 percent.

Furthermore, several studies have found that millennials prefer purpose over a higher paycheck.

So, how can you promote purpose? Start by:

  • Standing for something authentic and, if you’re a manager, aligning your values with your corporate culture.
  • Operationalizing purpose across the board from culture, KPI’s, product development, distribution, hiring, and marketing.
  • Infusing real and compelling purpose into your brand.

Related: Don't Ignore the Cultural Perks Millennials Crave on the Job

2. Actively listen and ask open-ended questions.

You’ve probably seen the movie where someone gives a rallying speech. The speech then motivates the people around the speaker so much that everyone screams and bursts into action.

In reality, that rarely works. I’m not saying that you can’t deliver an inspiring speech, it’s just that motivation starts inside others. This means that you have to know what exactly motivates others by understanding their thinking and behaviors. You have to discover what their goal and dreams are and how you can encourage them to reach the top of the mountain.

The only way you’re going to achieve this is by spending time with and actively listen to them.

That may sound easier said than done, by a great starting point is by asking open-ended questions like:

  • “Why do you want to do that?”
  • “What makes you so excited about it?”
  • “How long has that been your dream?”

You can then use their answers to help get them started in making their dreams a reality and how to keep them motivated through encouragement and appreciation.

Related: Successful Business Leaders Focus on Preventing Employee Burnout

3. Catch them in a motivational wave.

When you want to motivate someone to make a change for the better, nagging or motivational speeches, quotes, or videos probably aren’t going to do the trick.

"It may be that you have somebody that you married or someone in your family that you think needs to get more active. Possibly you feel they need to eat better. What you will probably be incredibly successful at doing is nagging them until they get it done. It doesn't work," said psychologist BJ Fogg, who is also the director of the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford.

So, forcing them to watch The Biggest Loser is bound to fail.

Instead Foog recommends, "waiting until something happens where they naturally get motivated," which is called a "motivation wave." When the other person's interest is in changing peaks, such as during the New Year or after tax season, that's the time to make your move.

"When that moment's right -- they're in a motivation wave -- then you help them take the steps they need to do to move forward," Fogg explains. "The motivation waves will go away. Motivation doesn't always stay high. So when the motivation is high get people to do hard things that then make future good behaviors easier to do."

Related: 9 Awesome Ways to Inspire Others

4. Stop bribing them.

Yes. Rewards can work to motivate people. For instance, paying your employees a competitive salary or offering bonuses for outstanding work are a given. The problem, as Dan Pink explains in Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, is that rewards just motivate people to get rewards.

When the rewards go away, people stop. If you want something other than basic manual labor, such as creative work or analytical words, rewards can actually backfire.

Simply put, stop bribing people to motivate them. Instead, tap into their emotions, emphasize progress as mentioned above. Then listen to what motivates them and when they’re ready, that's when you strike.

Related: 9 Signs You're Dealing With an Emotional Manipulator

5. Keep yourself at peak performance.

If you’re tired, burned out or just feeling blah, then how can you expect to motivate others? Jo Miller, founding editor of Be Leaderly and CEO of Women’s Leadership Coaching, Inc., suggests that you use the following five tips to maintain your peak performance:

  • Improve your mood by listening to music, enjoying nature, or exercising so that you can raise your brain’s dopamine levels, which in turn will improve your cognitive performance. And, your good vibes will rub off the people around you too.
  • Keep a log of your energetic peaks and valleys around a week so that you can build a new routine based on when you’re most productive.
  • Expand your capacity by working in 90-minute bursts.
  • Share that energy with those around you and give them your undivided attention.
  • Understand your goals, and the goals of others, so that can tailor them individually.

Related: How Successful People Overcome Toxic Bosses

6. Be vulnerable.

Sharing both your failures successes will help others relate better to you and the task at hand. It can then inspire and motivate them by letting them know that they’re not the only ones who have had to overcome struggles and challenges.

Related: Are You Brave Enough to Be Vulnerable?

How have you been able to successfully motivate others in your life to do something? Let us know in the comments.

More from Entrepreneur

Dustin's experience and expertise can help you monetize your message, build a marketing strategy and connect with influencers.
Book Your Session

For a limited time only, get this bundle of Entrepreneur Press® titles for less than $30 (60% OFF) on our bookstore when you use "LEAP" at checkout.
Buy Now

Are paying too much for business insurance? Do you have critical gaps in your coverage? Trust Entrepreneur to help you find out.
Get Your Quote Now

Latest on Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.