10 Motivation Skills for Effective Leadership

Updated February 3, 2023

Successful leaders need a variety of interpersonal skills to manage and inspire their teams. When hiring for leadership roles, employers look for motivational skills on a candidate's resume. Developing these skills could help you move into a leadership role or develop in your current management position.

In this article, we list 10 motivational leadership skills that can help you advance your career.

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What are motivational leadership skills?

Motivational leadership skills are the qualities leaders can use to inspire and empower their team members to succeed. Leaders can use motivational skills to help their coworkers:

  • Boost team morale: Motivation can increase team happiness.

  • Build relationships: Inspired teams often feel more connected and engaged.

  • Increase productivity: Motivational leaders might inspire their team to work more efficiently and productively.

  • Create a positive workplace culture: Strong motivation can make the workplace more enjoyable for you and your team members.

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10 motivational leadership skills

The following 10 motivational skills are important for your leadership career:

1. Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand and feel someone else's emotions. This skill can help leaders relate to their team members and build stronger relationships which can increase motivation.

You can show empathy for your team members by using some of these strategies:

  • Ask questions. Ask your team members questions about their hobbies or personal interests to help foster relationships.

  • Have informal conversations. Consider joining in some informal conversations, such as in the office break room. This can help you learn more about your team members and their unique personalities.

  • Celebrate personal events. Celebrating birthdays and baby showers can help increase office empathy and morale.

  • Make the office more ergonomic. Providing a comfortable and safe environment could help your employees feel more motivated.

  • Launch voluntary wellness activities. You can help show you care about your team's well-being by planning optional wellness activities such as company outings or fitness classes.

Read more: How To Be Empathetic in the Workplace

2. Positivity

Positivity is the ability to focus on the good in a situation. A leader with a positive attitude can help increase their team's happiness. You can be a positive leader by seeing challenges as a teachable moment. If an employee is facing an obstacle, encourage them to grow while remaining positive. Try to use optimistic words when speaking about conflicts or challenges. When your team members are succeeding, encourage them with positive praise and celebrations.

Read more: 32 Qualities of Positive Leadership

3. Reliability

Reliability means that others can expect you to provide consistent results. Reliable leaders consistently support and value their team members. Showing colleagues you value their time and efforts can motivate them to work harder. You can lead by example by showing your team how reliable you can be. Try to be punctual and give your team ample notice of changes to show you respect their time. When planning meetings, consider following an agenda and keeping conversations brief.

4. Goal setting

A clear sense of purpose can motivate people. By setting specific goals for each project, you can inspire your team. Consider setting group goals and personal performance goals. When possible, include details and deadlines to hold your team accountable.

You can track and celebrate goals to increase motivation. Some leaders use tools like posters or a tally board to recognize goals, while others prefer private recognition such as a bonus or a personalized card. People have individual motivational preferences, and knowing your team members can help you plan tracking systems that will motivate them.

Read more: 15 Tips for Goal Setting

5. Persistence

Persistence is the ability to work through obstacles to achieve success. Showing your team that you work hard can inspire them to do the same. You can lead by example by tracking your personal goals and working diligently to reach them.

Consider encouraging your team members' persistence by focusing on growth. You can also provide books, other resources and professional development opportunities to encourage continued learning.

6. Team building

The ability to foster a sense of teamwork and collaboration is an important skill for all leaders. Connected groups often work more efficiently. Try to encourage teamwork by planning team-building activities and events. You can also use team goals to encourage collaboration. Consider celebrating group successes with parties or other motivational rewards.

7. Communication

Successful leaders must communicate effectively to motivate their team members. As a leader, consider these tips to help you increase your motivational communication skills:

  • Speak clearly and confidently. You can help motivate a team by choosing your words carefully and speaking them with confidence.

  • Use storytelling. Storytelling is an excellent motivational tool. You can use personal and famous examples to inspire your team when giving speeches or setting goals. Examples from life can help prove your points and provide inspiration.

  • Practice public speaking. Before speaking to your group, consider practicing a few times to help you feel confident and prepared.

  • Set objectives. Try to communicate effectively by setting objectives for conversations. Plan a purpose for each written correspondence and formal discussions.

  • Maintain motivational non-verbal cues. You can help motivate your team members by showing positive non-verbal cues, such as maintaining eye contact and smiling.

Read more: 7 Tips for Improving Communication Skills

8. Effective feedback

The ability to provide focused and positive feedback is an important part of being a motivational leader. Constructive feedback shows an individual where and how they can improve. You can increase your feedback skills by creating a regular evaluation system. For example, you can meet quarterly with your team members and provide feedback using a performance review. Try to make feedback as actionable as possible by providing clear next steps.

Read more: Guide To Providing Feedback To Employees

9. Active listening

Active listening is the ability to focus on a speaker and fully understand what they are saying before responding. Employees often feel more motivated when they feel their leaders hear and understand them. As a leader, you can improve your active listening skills by nodding, maintaining eye contact and asking questions.

Also, consider creating more space for team members to share their thoughts. You can ask open-ended questions to increase discussions during meetings or reviews. You can also ask for regular feedback from your employees to show you care about what they have to say. For example, you can provide an anonymous survey where team members can share their suggestions or ideas. Try to find areas where you can improve to show you hear and value your team's thoughts.

10. Delegation

Delegation is the division of tasks. For example, if you have a large project, you can break it into separate sections and assign someone to complete each part. When you delegate, you can show employees you respect and trust them to accomplish their work. You also give them responsibility and authority over a task, which can be very motivating.

Begin delegating by first studying your team. Pay attention to individual strengths and preferences and consider these when dividing tasks. For example, if you have a team member who is an excellent writer, consider delegating the written portion of a task to them.

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