Motivational Skills List and Examples

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Are you able to motivate others? If you are, it’s a skill to highlight when you’re connecting with potential employers.

Companies are always eager for motivators when they are recruiting staff. These skills are valuable for employees when interfacing with customers, subordinates, upper management, suppliers, donors, team members, funding sources, and bosses. For managers, who must inspire a whole team of people, the ability to motivate is a must.  

What Are Motivational Skills?

Motivational skills in the workplace can be defined as actions or strategies that will elicit a desired behavior or response by a stakeholder. These strategies and actions will vary based on three major factors: 

  • The motivator's style 
  • The target audience 
  • The personality of the person the motivator seeks to influence

Steps in the Motivational Process

1. Assess the preferences and personality characteristics of the individual or group to be motivated. What motivates one group of people might not be the same as what motivates another group. 

2. Define motivational strategies appropriate for that target.

3. Convey expectations for performance from the object of the motivation. Or, make it clear how the person can achieve desired outcomes

4. Communicate benefits, rewards, or sanctions if expectations are (or are not) met.

5. Share feedback on progress or lack of progress towards desired outcomes.

6. Address problems or obstacles that are limiting success.

7. Provide rewards for desired outcomes.

8. Issue warnings before enacting sanctions.

9. Recognize people - publicly - who have responded in the desired manner.

Examples of Motivational Skills

A - I

  • Allocating professional development resources to the most motivated staff.
  • Allowing team members personal problem-solving autonomy instead of micromanaging the team.
  • Asking for input regarding departmental objectives.
  • Assigning desirable projects to staff who are highly engaged.
  • Awarding a performance-based bonus or salary increase to employees who achieve the right results.
  • Being open to discuss, in a constructive and non-judgmental manner, employee concerns.
  • Continually noticing the contributions of staff and conveying appreciation.
  • Creating a pleasant and ergonomic workplace for your team members.
  • Drafting a budget proposal for additional staff to management which emphasizes how revenues would be enhanced.
  • Empowering staff to choose the way in which they will address goals whenever possible.
  • Focusing on ways to learn from rather than punishing mistakes.
  • Giving to office collections to support favorite staff charities, celebrate birthdays, or sympathize with personal family loss.
  • Helping to build bridges across staff and management levels to heighten interconnectedness, foster collaboration, and build a shared sense of mission. 
  • Implementing a public tally board to record comparative sales by different members of the sales team.
  • Identifying and acknowledging the unique talents and contributions of team members.

J - Z

  • Joining informal “water cooler” discussions to gain an understanding of staff interests and personalities.
  •  Keenly assessing the interest of staff in various tasks and projects.
  • Launching voluntary health and wellness programs.
  • Limiting the length of staff meetings by sticking to a strict agenda and concluding discussions as quickly as possible.
  • Meeting with a subordinate to set performance goals.
  • Mentioning positive aspects of your supervisor's leadership approach to her boss at an informal gathering.
  • Mentoring new personnel in an engaging and supportive fashion.
  • Noticing and quietly thanking peers for unsolicited acts of both project / work initiative and of interpersonal kindness.
  • Offering to support colleagues or subordinates who are under stress.
  • Providing in-person testimonials by potential beneficiaries at a presentation to a grant funding organization.
  • Quarterly implementing team-building workshops to increase collaboration, mutual respect, and project ownership.
  • Recognizing the contributions of key donors in public communications.
  • Sending a note to an IT staff member's boss after she has helped with a successful implementation.
  • Taking a strong departmental contributor to lunch and thanking them for their efforts.
  • Thanking a supervisor for their support.
  • Utilizing rising technologies to streamline work processes, increase efficiency, and reduce caseloads.
  • Validating the individual progress of your subordinates in assuming greater levels of responsibility.
  • Warning a subordinate of the consequences for continued lateness.
  • Writing a LinkedIn recommendation for a helpful business partner.
  • Examining your own personal communications and work style to identify better ways to motivate others and lead by example.
  • Yielding control – and ownership - of various project stages to subordinates or colleagues who deserve the opportunity to lead others.
  • Zeroing in on opportunities to increase staff engagement and accountability.