Using "Small Wins" to Motivate People » Mind Tools Blog

Using “Small Wins” to Motivate People

April 1, 2014


There are many different ways that you can motivate your people.

Among others, you can link the work they do to their career aspirations, provide a great place to work, give recognition for a job well done, and pay a good wage.

But did you know that you can also boost motivation and performance when you recognize “small wins”?

Learn more about this in our article on Amabile and Kramer’s Progress Theory.

Question: What do you find works best for motivating people in your team? Join the discussion below.

5 thoughts on “Using “Small Wins” to Motivate People

  1. Bree wrote:

    I agree with Mika about saying a simple thank you. Getting acknowledged for a job well done, or a good effort, definitely works for me even though I am paid to do the job.

    I also get a boost of motivation when I’ve been allowed a bit of time off as a reward such as leaving a few hours earlier on a sunny day. This has been done as a thank you for the hard work, and makes me want to continue doing the hard work when I’m back as an appreciation for the appreciation.

    1. Midgie wrote:

      Bree, was the extra time off work down to the manager or was it a company wide thing that everyone did?

      Sometimes individual managers do their own thing for their own team and when another manager comes in, everything changes.

    2. Bree wrote:

      It was a company culture thing, rather than an individual manager. Saying that not all managers did that kind of thank you when work was up to date.

      Perhaps being a 24/7 type of organization, there were times when it was ‘all hands on deck’ to get through busy times. So, when there was a bit of slack, occasionally we’d get extra time either for a longer lunch or leave early.

      It didn’t happen regularly so we never expected it, however when it did happen, it felt like a really nice treat!

  2. Mika wrote:

    What works best for motivating people in my team:
    – Say ‘thank you’. Even though they get paid to do the work, it motivates people to be recognized by acknowledging their work.
    – Empower by giving autonomy. If people are treated like children they behave like children.
    I even motivate myself by recognizing my own ‘small wins’ such as making dreaded phone calls or sorting out paperwork!

    1. Midgie wrote:

      Thanks Mika for sharing how you motivate your team, and yourself. Acknowledging people and saying thank you, in my books, goes a very long way! Plus, allowing people their independence to run with a job and take responsibility is also empowering!

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