STOP motivating your team

STOP motivating your team

Just type in the words “motivate team” into Google search and you will get over 50 million hits. Motivation has become a magic word in management industry.

The general thought (and that includes the pharmaceutical and bioscience organizations) is that a motivated team performs much better than an unmotivated team. Which obviously is true. I don’t know if you have ever worked with an unmotivated team, but believe me … It is quite hopeless and energy draining.

You need a motivated team in order to achieve great results together. However, many managers are focusing on the wrong thing. They are trying to motivate the team by … trying to motivate the team. Sounds funny, doesn’t it?

Perhaps you have done it yourself as well? Trying to motivate your team by organizing motivational sessions. You may have been very successful in sweeping up the energy. They even may have felt truly motivated. But this is the question I would like to ask: did they stay motivated?

Motivation can be extremely volatile. I dare to say that probably nothing has changed. Just think about the last motivational session you have attended yourself. I am sure it was great to listen to, giving you new insights. But did it also change your behavior and achieving new results because of it?

How to get sustainable motivation?

Why putting a lot of effort in motivational sessions, when it is a lot easier to get their genuine attention in a totally different way? Involve, listen, make a plan together. You should not be focusing on “how to motivate my team?”.


The number one thing to do is to connect! And yes, it may take some guts to share and open up. But listen, you do not have to have a well-defined plan about how to reach the goals. The people in your team are the experts. They are having great ideas (probably even better than yours) as it is about what they are doing every day.

Set the context

What you need to do next, is to set the context. Which goal needs to be achieved? Is there a budget involved? What are the available time and resources? Are there any specific issues that need to be taken into account? Is there a deadline?

Let Go

And then … Let go! Turn your team into leaders. Giving them the space to own what they are working on. A true leader does not keep leadership for himself. A true leader is giving leadership away.

What’s next?

So please, STOP motivating your team today and start connecting. Be prepared for amazing results.

Where do you see possibilities for giving away leadership? Is there a specific project you are now thinking about? Always start with baby steps. Just pick one project at the time and define your strategy.

Just let me know what your biggest insight is after reading this blogpost by leaving a comment in the comment section below. I’d love to know!

Warm regards,


Posted in 2-English, Leadership

2 reacties op “STOP motivating your team
  1. Wilhelm Hoeltmann schreef:

    Hello Karen,
    yes, i agree with your explanaitions. What you describe is the major and important diference between a manager – setting goals und push the staff there – and leaders – setting goals, explains his expectations und criteria for success and let the people act according their way. And not the least, take care of a high degree of identification with the goal and the way, his staff can achieve the goals and can be successfull in a mutual understanding. And that means to communicate (=information+dialog)continously about individual progress, personal development und successfactors.
    Motivation management means more, to reduce factors for demotivation und frustration, less to motivate people. The motivation of people consists always of a set of varying und different motives, and thats the challange for leaders.
    Best regards

    • Karen Zimmermann schreef:

      Hi Wilhelm,
      Thank you for your additions. I like your description: “The motivation of people always consists of a set of varying and different motives, and that’s the challange for leaders”.

      Motivation is not an activity by itself, it is a result!

      Thanks! Karen

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