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Understanding the importance of motivation in management

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three men sitting while using laptops and watching man beside whiteboard
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

The effectiveness of any leader is down to their ability to motivate those around them. Motivation improves performance and leads to positive results, which is the primary concern of any leader. Employees are better positioned to put in more work when they feel motivated to do their job. We list five crucial steps for fostering high morale among employees and improving output.

The meaning of motivation in management 

Motivation is the process of persuading people to put in their effort to achieve certain objectives. Several factors can motivate employees, including:

  • Job satisfaction
  • Praise and recognition
  • Achievement
  • Monetary gains

As a manager, your job is to motivate employees so that they show a desire to put in their best at work. Doing this is important because motivation drives performance in the workplace. To motivate employees, you must know what drives them. It can be the need for recognition, success, work-life balance, or higher remuneration. Knowing this will help you choose the right incentives to spur action.


Why motivation is important for effective management

Management must understand how to motivate employees because effective motivation provides the following benefits:

Improves employee efficiency

Motivation can influence the behavior of employees positively. In a lot of cases, the skills of an employee hardly determine their performance. Rather, their willingness determines if they perform up to expectations. When management implements motivation at work, they bridge the gulf between an employeeโ€™s skill and willingness to work. Doing this can improve performance, enhance efficiency, and decrease operational costs.

Enhances achievement of business goals

Management can come up with different goals and create strategies to achieve them. Without a motivated workforce, you cannot achieve those goals. The employees are the ultimate deciders of the organizationโ€™s fate. If they work well, the organization will achieve its goals; if they donโ€™t, the organization loses. Thus, effective management involves encouraging employees to do more to help the organization achieve its goals.

Promotes effective utilization of human resources

Human resources refer to the people working in an organization. Building up a companyโ€™s human resources requires enormous investments of time, energy, and money. Managers must get the best out of employees to justify their salaries. Without motivation, employees will be less likely to tap into their potential and increase output. So, it is your job as the manager to bolster employee morale to increase productivity.


Creates positive work culture

Research shows motivated people make the happiest employees. When employees receive recognition, rewards, or some form of motivation, their job satisfaction increases. A highly motivated workforce often features cordial relationships among employees, minor disputes, and increased positive sentiment. If you want to make your company one of the best places to work, it is vital to provide incentives to motivate your personnel.

A five-step guide to implementing motivation in management 

Motivation doesnโ€™t follow a rule book: what works for a company might not work for another. However, here are five important things to do when trying to implement motivation in management:

1. Create incentives

According to Abraham Maslow, humans act to fulfil different needs. It could be the need to survive, feel loved, improve self-esteem, and or self-actualization. Once you can figure out what a person needs, it becomes easier to motivate them to do something. The knowledge allows you to promise to fulfil that need in return for them executing the required task. The experience of many managers shows that employees display a need to be recognized and praised for their achievements. Also, some may want money or more time to spend on relaxation. Knowing this, you can then create an incentive system that rewards high-performing employees. Not only will this spur them to more action, but it will inspire others who want similar benefits to work harder. Below are some incentives that you could use in the workplace:

  • Promotions
  • Salary increments
  • Time off from work
  • Awards and achievement badges

2. Build relationships with employees

In implementing motivation in management, building relationships with employees is crucial. Employees are inspired to work better when they see that management cares about them. Within your team, try to focus on each individual and understand what motivates them. Have one-on-one conversations with team members. Ask about their challenges and goals and offer to help them progress in their careers.


When managers show commitment to employeesโ€™ growth and development, employees will show loyalty to the organizationโ€™s growth and development. Forging deeper bonds with team members allows you to understand their needs and wants, especially those related to work. The information can be useful for implementing incentives that will be effective in motivating them to action. You should also encourage better interaction among co-workers. If a co-worker feels comfortable with others in the team, they will be motivated to work with them.

There are several ways you can encourage better workplace camaraderie. Organize fun activities like Friday lunches or movie days where members can interact in a relaxed setting. Also, manage conflicts as soon as they arise; stop the drama from affecting team spirit and breeding discontent among the staff.

3. Cultivate a dynamic work environment

Humans need constant stimulation to sustain an activity. For example, high-performing salespeople are likely to put in more effort to meet quotas when they get generous bonuses and commissions. Your workplace needs to provide some measure of stimulation for employees. In other words, the work must be exciting. To make employees excited about their jobs, encourage innovation and flexible thinking. No matter your success, there are always new ideas and innovative solutions that promise better results.

Encouraging employees to think creatively makes work exciting and keeps everyone happy. No group uses this motivation tactic better than Silicon Valley companies. Tech companies like the social media and online marketing giants actively encourage employees to suggest novel ideas and even reward them for their contributions. These companies boast highly motivated work forces that perform above expectations.


Create a culture that encourages creativity and innovation and promotes employees to do things differently to boost their motivation levels. Doing this will likely require having a decentralized hierarchy that allows employees to take the initiative and try new things without the direct supervision of top management.

4. Establish company values

For many employees, money is the reason for working. At the same time, employees want the feeling that their efforts matter; that they are doing something they believe in. It is important for your organization to see employees as people with values, and theyโ€™ll only derive satisfaction if their work aligns with their values. Establishing your companyโ€™s values is an important part of motivation.

The organization should have a vision statement that captures its values and mission. It is important to survey your employees and understand their values before anything else. Then you can create a set of values that aligns with both the companyโ€™s vision and the values of employees. Seeing the companyโ€™s values aligning with theirs motivates employees to perform better. At this point, the pay may no longer matter; the intrinsic satisfaction from doing something purposeful keeps them going.

5. Create a culture of happiness

The happiest individuals are often the most productive. When people feel happy on their job, their levels of self-motivation and overall performance will increase. The problem is, most employees in todayโ€™s harsh corporate world may find it difficult to be happy with their jobs. Therefore, it is no surprise that employee morale in companies, even Fortune 500s, can be dismal. Improving employee happiness goes beyond Happy Hour Fridays; in fact, itโ€™s the intangible things that make employees happy.


Take work-life balance, for example; many employees are dissatisfied because their work takes all their time, giving them little opportunity to focus on their private lives. Dissatisfaction can breed unhappiness, which can lower motivation levels. Showing that you understand employees have lives outside of work dramatically improves motivation. At least, your employees should feel comfortable asking for time off from work to handle important life issues. Appreciation of employee efforts also helps with keeping them motivated on the job. It doesnโ€™t mean you have to praise employees each time they perform a routine task.

However, appreciating their significant efforts, like completing a major project or launching a product, can put a smile on their faces. A simple โ€œthank-youโ€ will make team members happy and inspire them to achieve greater success. Understanding the importance of motivation in management and the ways for nudging employees to stay committed and loyal to the organizationโ€™s goals is vital for achieving company goals. Use this guide to learn about the various strategies for boosting employee motivation and increasing job satisfaction.


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