Often times when someone on the team is underperforming it can drag the entire effort down.  And since everyone is motivated by something different, using creativity to unlock the power of motivation in new and different ways is a worthwhile approach not often thought about.  Because traditional motivation techniques take over our thoughts.

Traditional motivation techniques deal with the obvious – things like giving a raise or some kind of bonus upon completion of project.  Giving someone time off or more holiday leave.  But these often fall short of motivating team members because they ignore one very important thing:


So how do we imbed creativity into our motivation efforts?  How do we use the power of creativity to ensure that our motivation techniques with staff are successful?  Here are three techniques from the world of creativity that can spark a newfound engagement in any staff member or team:

1.     Micro-Task

Assign tasks in very small chunks so that the team member in question can accomplish them without much effort. What we are really doing here is establishing a benchmark of success that can be repeatedly and easily accomplished.  It’s addictive!  Just like the video games on our phone reward us with points or by unlocking a tool– they keep us clicking and engaged in the device by doling out little doses of joy. 

You can do the same at the office. 

Instead of setting your milestones on huge wins or other big and seemingly out of reach goals, try small, measured wins that will enable that particular teammate who is struggling with motivation to taste victory.  This in turn will allow a familiarity with a small victory and will encourage that teammate to engage fully into the venture.  One little milestone at a time.

2.     Over-Communicate

Sometimes the lack of willingness to take action comes from a fear of the unknown. This is one of the most underestimated fears that staff have today in modern business.  The unknown.  We tend to steamroll past this with little regard to the fear of the unknown that staff may have – and this tends to kill motivation.

But that fear is out there.  And it is very real.  It may be a fear of making the wrong choice or it may be a fear of ridicule from teammates or clients or more.

But the good news is there is a very powerful antidote to this fear.  And that is the creative tool of over-communication.  Over communicate anything possible when your team is not motivated.  When we over communicate, we allow for more to be out there.  More information.  More details.  More transparency.  More right there on the table for the taking. And that over communicated info can used to make better decisions, allowing for motivation to take hold because information banishes fear.  

In an environment that is rife with fear, over communication can be a powerful creative tool to help drive motivation back into the day-to-day practices of the business, and allows for ownership of different initiatives to be owned by the team.  In all, it is a relatively simple technique to try and success is often high.

3.     Check Yourself

Of all the creative motivation tools that creativity deals with, checking yourself may be the most difficult to implement.  Because it asks of you to look within to see why motivating a team member is an issue in the first place!  Ouch!  We are so good at externalizing issues and we rationalize away any fault as not being our own – we as leaders are really good at it!  We fool ourselves into thinking things like “it’s the competition that stole away the good folks” or “I inherited this hire from someone else” etcetera.  But looking in the rearview mirror for someone to blame when things are not going our way is hardly an effective tool to motivate a team member.  

Instead, visit your process, your pathways, your procedures. Are they indeed allowing for people to step up and take responsibilities, or are they ensconcing you as the one leader? Often times when I consult I see owners or C-level staff operating in this way unconsciously without any hint of foul play — they simply do not know they are doing it. They have become the bottleneck.

Are you the bottleneck that is hindering team motivation?  

It a tough question, but simply asking it and really taking a hard look at your policies can unleash amazing creative potential in motivating team members to do better.  Go father.  Accomplish more.  And there is an altruistic bonus here in checking yourself.

There is this magnetic creative power that occurs when you allow yourself to be vulnerable as a leader.  I don’t know what it is – and it’s outside the scope of this article to explain.  But I see it working each and every time it is applied – and it resonates throughout the organization.  What ends up happening is people tend to empathize with you as the leader simply because after checking yourself you have recognized some vulnerability and you are moving to correct it.  Like magnetism, people are drawn to this frailty in the human condition, recognize it, and then look within themselves to help bridge motivational problems.  

I really hope that these three creative tools end up helping you get rid of motivational issues once and for all.  When the tried-and-true techniques of “lets just give someone a raise!” don’t work anymore, these three creative motivational tools can be pulled out anytime and used at will.   #1 and #2 above are relatively easy, yet #3 is a bit more difficult but often necessary.  And all three tools can combine to lead you to motivate team members no matter what the stumbling block to motivation may be.