What Savvy Business Owners Do To Motivate Staff And Achieve Success

About the Author

Sandra Wood has extensive human resources and organisational development experience having held senior management positions in both the private and public sectors.

Her combination of commercial and people skills built up over the past twenty five years is backed by her qualifications in education, business management and executive coaching.

Sandra is passionate about helping organisations and people achieve their potential. She has a particular interest in helping managers and leaders reach higher levels of performance and satisfaction in their roles.


If you’re a business owner or manager who is responsible for a team of people, it’s highly likely that at some stage you will have pondered the dilemma of how to get the very best out of each individual.

How do you Motivate your people to achieve and get things done? How do you ensure that you are getting the best return on what is often your biggest Cost Centre in your business? And how do you do it skilfully, with a minimum of fuss, the way really Savvy, Successful Businesses do it?

As a business owner or Manager, if People play a part in helping you achieve your goals and objectives, then you need to know how to Lead People in a way that motivates them to help you get there!

Lets look at some key things that Savvy Business Owners and Managers do to motivate their staff and achieve success.


Ok, so this may sound obvious, but take a moment to think, “do I really know what motivates each person in my team”?

When you were young you may have been told, “treat others as you’d like to be treated”.

But he fact is, what motivates one person may not motivate another, and often, the best results occur when leaders connect in a way that “treats others as THEY’D like to be treated”!

Can you see how magic can happen when you get this right?

Know your people’s strengths and what Motivates them and you have a key that will increase Productivity almost instantly!

How? Well, have you tried asking them? Asked them what aspects of the job they find most satisfying? What would make them go the extra mile?

Give it a try. The answers you get might surprise you.


Setting clear expectations around goals and values is critical to getting people to do what you want them to do. You need to work with your people to set the parameters up front and to make sure that there is mutual UNDERSTANDING of what is expected.

This doesn’t mean explaining what you want them to do and then asking, “Do you understand?”

They key word is MUTUAL understanding. You need to make sure that THEIR understanding of what you said is the same as YOUR understanding of what you said!

So instead of saying “Got it?” or “Do you understand?”, try “I want to make sure I’ve been clear with my instructions, so tell me in your own words what you think needs to be done…” or something similar.

This approach will lessen the likelihood of people saying, “that’s not what you said” and you feeling frustrated at not getting the result you were after, even though you think that you’ve explained something very clearly.


There is perhaps nothing more de-motivating than the thought, “I cant do this” or “I’m not sure what to do”, so be strategic about increasing your teams self belief.

Self belief encourages efficiency, initiative and enthusiasm, so build it in your people.

The first way you can do this, which is so often NOT done by a manager, is to tell your team that you believe in them! Especially when they’re trying something for the first time, just telling them that you believe in their ability to succeed will motivate them and dramatically increase the likelihood of achieving that very outcome.

Have your people work on things they’ve done well before. When people are good at something it can mean they are working with their strengths, which is also a strong motivating factor.

Provide your people with a suitable level of Autonomy, which not only motivates but also results in freeing you up to focus on other areas of the business, knowing that the task is in good hands.

Once you’ve set them on a path, get out of the way. Don’t ‘hover’, continually asking them where they’re at with the task. Rather, set a time for a weekly or monthly catch up to check on progress and adjust if necessary.


Contribution is an innate motivation in most people.

We all generally want to understand how we “Fit” into the broader scheme of the world around us and the same applies to or individual tasks at work.

So explain to your team members how what they do each day contributes to the success of the organisation. It provides context for their role and a sense of the importance of each person in playing their part & is a great way to motivate.

This strategy is particularly useful if you employ Gen X or Gen Y staff, who generally have a strong desire to understanding of higher purpose.


Imagine that your business or your workplace is a Fish Tank and you, along with all of your other Co-workers, are Fish.

Now, if the water in your Fish Tank that you and all of your co-workers swim around in all day long is dirty and brown, there is no way for any of the fish swimming in that bowl to avoid the water and it eventually becomes a part of them.

Your workplace culture is the same. Your current culture and levels of motivation in the workplace will creep into the people you employ. You need to establish Values and Standards in the business which you, as a Leader, need to Role Model and which you uphold vigorously.

And if you think your culture is fine? Well just think about that fish in its Tank. Sometimes its hard to gauge the quality of the water when you’ve been swimming in it for so long.

Motivation And Money

You may be wondering why its taken so long for Money to be raised? Well, its because Money is not an ideal motivator.

This is because it is really a short lived “incentive” rather than a motivator. Once that Pay rise has been lived with for a short while, that level of pay quickly becomes the norm and your staff member is looking for the next bump and you are looking for the next way to pay for it.

By all means, incentivise with money if that works for you and your organisation however, a stronger focus developing your Leadership Capabilities and People Management Skills is the key to building a High Performing Workplace that will provide better results and more sustainable growth for your organisation.

NEVER FORGET – Strong Leadership Is The Key To Success In Business.

Power Up Your People! Boosting Productivity & Profit Through Leadership
In this complimentary information session, Sandra will discuss the 7 strategies that Great Managers use.

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