Entrepreneurship · Motivation

How do I motivate my team?

Orvi Das I am dreamer

April 5th, 2017

My team is very good at delivering though they have consistant fears of failure. They are student so they have fear that they can not do both work and study together. How do I motivate them that they can overcome such type of fear.

Michael Docherty Lifelong innovator, corporate exec, and ex-VC

April 5th, 2017

There's a natural tendency as leaders to believe it's our job to 'manage' and 'motivate' and actively bring out the best in our employees and team members. While leadership has an important role in all of this it's generally one of subtraction rather than addition.


Think about what you and others can do to NOT hold back or hinder your team's natural ability to think creatively and deliver great work. So ask yourself what can be removed from the picture that might be causing fear. As someone who has consulted with many leading corporate innovation teams, led 100+ organizations myself and as a startup founder... leadership behaviors matter much more than leadership words. Demonstrating firsthand your willingness to put yourself out there and take risks... and being the first to celebrate their 'failures' as brave learning experiments would go a long way. Here's a great talk by Astro Teller of Google X (Alphabet) where he talks about striving to kill good ideas to focus on the great ones. https://www.ted.com/talks/astro_teller_the_unexpected_benefit_of_celebrating_failure


Hope that helps and best of luck in your efforts!

Samuel Lynd CEO/Administrator - Hospital and Health System

April 5th, 2017

There are a lot of great answers to this question - it is a common one in the startup world, or any other team-based environment, for that matter.


I try to keep things simple with a note on my desk that numbers very simply the things I need to keep in mind to continue to be a leader of an inspired, active, and engaged group. Each of these items warrant further discussion, but having just the numbered lists inspires me to think about how I can achieve each of these in that particular moment in time for a team and sometimes, for a specific team member that may be struggling.


1. Listen

2. Communicate

3. Laugh/ Love

4. Example

5. Empower

6. Invest

shivanshu patel Senior Fullstack PHP developer

April 5th, 2017

My suggestion is share statatics with the team show them where is thier effort is going. I would say increase transperancy. Show then short tearm goal instead of showing long term or big picture. Also try to help them with timing if they are student.

Steve Owens

April 5th, 2017

Rarely have I seen students work out in a startup - often they cause more issues than they solve, as they tend to do the wrong thing really well.


You build a great company by hiring a great team - not a bunch of amateurs (no offense to students, we were all one at one time).


I have never read any book were some successful person claimed the secret to success was to hire rookies. There are several that state to opposite - find the best people in the world.


You do not need to motivate good people - they motivate themselves - that is why they are good . They become great when a leader helps them become a FUNCTIONAL team. Being a "functional team" has little to do with motivation


Douglas Hall https://www.linkedin.com/in/douglasthall

April 5th, 2017

Hi Orvi,

I highly recommend picking up a copy of Dan Pink's "Drive." It will help you find ways to inspire your team through purpose, mastery and autonomy. I would also recommend you inject a core value of productivity over perfection into your culture. Their fear to fail is likely a fear to disappoint (you). If they understand that quality work delivered expediently is valued over flawless product that is slow to market, they will strive to produce faster. But be careful not to scold them for mistakes (made a first time) as these are opportunities to learn, adapt and improve. Best of luck.

-D