How To Motivate Others To Get Things Done

How To Motivate Others To Get Things Done by superduper15

Summary: If you can tap into people’s needs and desires, play into their strengths, and make them feel like their contributions are meaningful, you can motivate people to do anything and achieve at a high level.

A yuuuuge element of good leadership is unlocking the potential of others, it’s not always easy or possible for every person, but if you bring out the best in people then you can achieve exponentially more than what you would by micromanaging everything yourself.

Part 1 – What is motivation?

Motivation = knowledge * ability * willingness

Notice how these factors are multiplied, if one of them is absent, there is ZERO motivation.

Knowledge and ability you often can’t affect but is usually there to some extent, but what about willingness?

Part 2 – Tap into needs and desires

Building willingness starts with understanding the needs and desires of the people around you. A lot of the time, people just want to collect a paycheck, get a bonus, get a gold star from their boss, or get a good grade in a class.

Truth is, people are fuckin laaazzzzyyy and it’s hard to motivate people with lofty, higher purpose concepts like “advancing the company”, “self-improvement” etc. Americans like myself especially are incredibly materialistic and associate objects with success, thus most people are motivated by dat cash money and metaphorical gold stars.

Explicitly tying in the purpose of the project/business/work to peoples’ needs works wonders. Some example statements to tie in:

  • “We need to meet our sales goals this quarter, we’ll be seeing a nice paycheck and recognition at the conference late this year.”
  • “Hey brahs let’s make sure we ace this project, we’ll set ourselves up for an ‘A’ and/or give us leeway tobomb the final exam and snag a B or C

If you happen to meet those rare people who are motivated by simply producing quality work, seeking a higher purpose, altruism, etc. do not hesitate to tap into that energy, you will get great results from these types of folks. It is also smart to make friends with these types

Part 3 – Play into peoples’ strengths

The next step in building willingness is learning and utilizing people’s strengths. Often times it’s tough to pin these down but you can get a feel for a person based on their personality type. The following are generalizations but are a good starting point:

• Introverts

  • Writing, creating presentations, editing, design, Photoshop, coding

• Extroverts

  • Presenting, brainstorming, keeping people on track, leading a group discussion, taking charge of smaller sub-tasks or sub-projects, making plans, managing other people

Remember, people loooove to talk about themselves. When in doubt, ASK someone what they think they can contribute.


  • “Hey Larry, what kinds of things are you good at that you could apply to this project?”
  • “Monica, I saw that you’re really good at drawing. Will you come over and draw me like like the girl in Titanic?”

Although Monica might not be down, be sure to ask anyways because she’s good at it. This is a fairly simple point, but super easy to overlook. People will buy in way more when you cater to their skills and abilities.

Part 4 – Make people feel important

Furthermore, making people feel important and understanding their role within a group setting is crucial when building motivation/willingness.

We all have an innate need to feel significant in some way, this is especially true for millennials since we are all special snowflakes. This is as simple as having a quick conversation and explicitly stating why they are important to the group. Acknowledge that in certain settings not everyone is equally important, some may completely check out when it’s not something they feel attached to because refreshing their Instagram feed for the 100th time seems more pertinent, and that’s okay. Sometimes you can’t get people attached to their work, don’t let it slow you down.

The important part is that people know why their contributions are significant. You can tie this in with using peoples’ strengths. Don’t confuse this with dick-riding. Here are some example statements:

  • “Hey Jade, great work on that proposal, Mike was really happy about it and I think we’ve got the contract
  • “Nick, you seem pretty comfortable in front of people. You want to take the lead on this presentation? Ithink you’d help us get an ‘A’ on this”

Some roles will inevitably be small, but that doesn’t matter…what matters is if the person filling the role truly feels as if their contributions are important.

Part 5 – Conclusion

If you can tap into people’s needs and desires, play into their strengths, and make them feel like their contributions are meaningful, you can motivate people to do anything and achieve at a high level.

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