Understanding and Building a Motivated Team

Jennifer Leigh
By Jennifer Leigh

Mutual understanding depends on understanding oneself and understanding others. What motivates people to act as they do?  When you determine the answer to this question for specific individuals, you can adapt your communication style for more positive results. People are complicated. No simple rules exist for understanding what causes them to behave as they do, but insight into their aptitudes and personality traits will help you better understand how to communicate and motivate (and even select) your team members.

Consider the following when trying to understand why people behave in certain ways.

  1. Behavior is caused. People are motivated for two basic reasons: either to gain a benefit, or to avoid a loss. The only permanent motivation is attitude motivation, based on inward change. When people do something because they want to – when they are pursuing their own goals – then and only then are they truly motivated. Understanding and tapping into inward needs is the ultimate way to achieve effective, lasting motivation.
  2. People are more likely to act on feelings than logic. Regardless of how people arrive at certain judgments or beliefs, they are moved to action by feelings much more than logic. You must also recognize that feelings are created by what each person believes to be true, not by what others believe to be true. Taking an individual’s personal feelings into consideration when interacting is critical to reaching mutual understanding and positive results.
  3. People act for their own reasons, not yours. When people think for themselves and solve their own problems, they are much more motivated. People rarely change behaviors without consideration. They usually think about a situation before they act. When you understand that people act for their own reasons, you realize you must understand the reasons they act. With this awareness, you can guide their thinking toward constructive, self-motivated actions.

Remember that different people have different attitudes and motivators, but there is always a reason they behave as they do. Understanding each of your team members personality traits and attitudes will help you determine how best to lead them to success.


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