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Whether you’re a small team, an organization, a company or a family, you will need a lot of motivation to get things done and achieve a level of success. But motivation can be a tricky thing—while it’s not complicated, it certainly is not something that a lot of people have automatic understanding for. So has the job of getting others excited and inspired fallen into your hands?

Here are tips on how to motivate people and bring out the best in them:

1) Find the current level of motivation of the person you wish to motivate.

Each person, whether he is an employee, a co-worker, a team member or a family member, has some amount of motivation in them. Try to identify this level. What makes them tick? What do they find exciting, interesting or worthwhile? What are their goals? How do they hope to achieve them?

Do not try to approach the challenge in a generic way because you will be met with a lack of enthusiasm or even resistance. Use a personalized approach if you want to motivate an individual. With a group, look for a common denominator—a common goal or interest—that you can use to motivate them and get them to perform.

2) See things from their point of view.

It’s easy to explain things based on what you perceive. But what about what others see, think or feel? Each time you present an idea or concept to the person you want to motivate, ask them for their opinions and listen to what they have to say. You can then use information obtained from them in order to create a motivational plan that has the strongest appeal to them.

3) Use positive reinforcement.

Between pleasure and pain, people will always choose pleasure. Try to steer away from using negative motivational tactics such as fear or threats. These could work initially but they are not very effective for motivating people over a long term. Besides, using negative reinforcements might result to a feeling of annoyance, anger or exasperation. If not corrected early, this could even lead to aggression and rebellion.

Use rewards instead. To motivate people, give recognition, acknowledgment, gratitude, even gifts or citations. People want to know that you notice their hard work. Didn’t you say you expected the best? Once someone has risen to that level of excellence, give them the recognition they deserve. You’ll be surprised at how effective this technique is in keeping people motivated.

4) Show, don’t tell.

If you want to know how to effectively motivate people, show them through example. What sort of behavior do you expect from them? Why not show them by doing it yourself? They will be more willing to believe than if you just lecture and never show.

5) Don’t push.

It is said that you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. When you’re trying to motivate people check to see if their willingness is still there. There is a point in every endeavor when you begin to meet with resistance. This could happen for a number of reasons, including boredom, distraction, discovery of other more interesting things or just simply lack of interest. It could also be that your motivational efforts have reached a plateau.

Should this happen, learn to let up, step back and if necessary, let go. People will be more motivated if they don’t feel pressured. If you sense a resistance, stop and check for identifiable factors that are stopping you. Once you have found them, design a different approach.

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