Manager as Motivator: How Managers Motivate Their Employees

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated September 9, 2022 | Published April 25, 2022

Updated September 9, 2022

Published April 25, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Two coworkers hold a discussion while walking outside along an elevated walkway.

As a manager, you serve an important role in motivating employees to perform in their jobs and embrace company culture. Managers offer their teams support and care to employees and they can use many different approaches to motivate staff and become better leaders. Understanding these tactics can help managers learn to be more effective motivators.

In this article, we discuss a manager's role as a motivator to their team, ways to be a more motivational manager and how to write a resume that highlights this leadership skill.

A manager's role as a motivator

A manager's role as a motivator is to understand each employee and their needs, wants and desires and to leverage those to inspire quality and productivity. Since managers are in a leadership role, they hold a unique position of power where they can have more influence over their teams.

By providing emotional support, practical resources and guidance and coaching, managers can help employees do their best work and potentially advance within the company. A core leadership skill for managers is coaching and mentorship, which allows leaders to act as coaches for work quality, behavior patterns, methods and career advancement.

Related: What Are Personnel Managers? Definition and Job Duties

How to be a motivational manager

To become a more motivational manager, you can follow these steps:

1. Listen to your employees

One of the most important steps in becoming a more motivational manager is learning to listen to your employees. Listening to employees not only shows respect and can boost an employee's confidence but can also provide crucial information about their wants, needs and personal motivations.

Improving your active listening skills as a manager means learning to read nonverbal cues and understand the meaning behind an employee's words. It also means learning to wait your turn to speak and to listen to every complaint, comment or request with equal enthusiasm.

Related: Factors of Motivation: Definitions and Examples

2. Consider both needs and wants

Both needs and wants are primary factors in your employees' personal motivation. For example, an employee might want to advance in the company because they need a higher salary. It's important to listen to and consider both needs and wants when you're motivating an employee.

If you want to motivate an employee to perform at a higher level, listen to what they need to succeed and what they want to make the process easier. You might find that fulfilling simple desires helps employees feel more confident and comfortable in their work environment and allow you to understand their personal motivations.

3. Use employee motivation to motivate

Once you understand an employee's wants and needs, you can better use their own motivation to motivate them. For example, if you understand that an employee wants to improve their work because they need to make an impression on a client, you can remind them of their goal and help motivate them to perform their best work.

Sometimes, the best way to motivate an employee is by simply reminding them of their personal motivations and why they matter. A manager that remembers personal motivations for each employee might connect better with their employees, creating stronger relationships.

Related: 11 Motivation Interview Questions To Ask Job Candidates

4. Provide feedback

Feedback is both a way to provide constructive criticism and to show an employee that you care about their work and are monitoring their progress. Once you understand an employee's personal motivation, it can be simpler to provide helpful feedback. Learn how to provide feedback without making it personal or hurtful.

You can also learn how to make feedback more effective by rephrasing your feedback for specific goals. For example, instead of saying, "I think you can do better," try saying, "I know your skill level software and believe you can increase your quality with a few hours of effort."

Read more: 13 Ways To Give Better Feedback

5. Create engaging work opportunities

Understanding how to motivate your employees means also understanding their passions and what kind of work they find engaging. Engaging, rewarding work can be a great motivator because it inspires confidence by leveraging their strengths and keeps them interested. You can find creative ways to make daily routines more engaging, such as assigning a day for open work areas or allowing employees to experiment with different methods.

Related: 6 Common Types of Workplace Motivation

Resume template

Here's a template you can use to create a manager resume with a focus on your motivational skills:

[Your full name]

[Phone number] | [Email address] | [City, State]

Professional Summary
[Two or three sentences about your specific industry experience, skills and professional goals]

Work Experience

[Job Title], [Start date–End date]
[Company or organization name], [City, State]

  • [Strong verb] + [job duty] + [impact]

  • [Strong verb] + [job duty] + [impact]

  • [Strong verb] + [job duty] + [impact]

  • [Strong verb] + [job duty] + [impact]

[Job Title], [Start date–End date]
[Company or organization name], [City, State]

  • [Strong verb] + [job duty] + [impact]

  • [Strong verb] + [job duty] + [impact]

  • [Strong verb] + [job duty] + [impact]

[Job Title], [Start date–End date]
[Company or organization name], [City, State]

  • [Strong verb] + [job duty] + [impact]

  • [Strong verb] + [job duty] + [impact]

  • [Strong verb] + [job duty] + [impact]


[Degree], [Major] | [Date of graduation if you graduated within the past three years]
[Name of School or University]


[Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill]

Related: 4 Simple Ways to Maintain Motivation for Career Success

Resume example

Here's an example of a manager as a motivator resume using the template above:

Samantha Greenwood

234-582-1836 || Los Angeles, CA

Professional Summary

Experienced, passionate, motivational manager seeking employment with an established firm to help motivate employees to excel and provide strong leadership for company success.

Work Experience

Project Manager, August 2015–present
Myers Consultants Inc., Los Angeles, CA

  • Motivated employees to excel in their work and achieved a 20% increase in work quality for my team

  • Provided leadership for multiple teams and inspired higher production rates

  • Assigned schedules and duties to employees based on strengths, creating a 10% increase in production over three years

  • Wrote employee reviews and discussed employee performance to help inspire motivation and confidence

  • Provided project oversight and quality standard enforcement for each project

Team Lead, May 2010-August 2015
Myers Consultants, Inc., Los Angeles, CA

  • Provided leadership for team members, including general support and additional resources when necessary

  • Helped motivate employees to meet quotas and maintain work quality

  • Met personal quotas and drafted reports on team efforts for reviews

Retail manager, June 2009–August 2015
Jerry J's Emporium, Los Angeles, CA

  • Led store sales efforts and established sales practices for retail associates

  • Provided oversight for store projects, marketing and customer service

  • Motivated employees to perform at company standards and excel using their personal strengths


Bachelor's of Science in Business Management
Los Angeles School of Leadership and Management in Business


Motivation | Coaching | Leadership | Project management

Related: 12 Effective Motivation Techniques for the Workplace

Related: Employee Motivational Speech: The Failproof Formula

In this video, Jenn, a certified career coach, will share a winning, 5-step strategy for connecting with your audience and motivating them to achieve the task at hand.

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