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Insights: How to Motivate Team Members

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Ask the Expert! Through WISE Insights,Connect with knowledgeable experts to receive honest and thoughtful answers to your career-related questions, or read about challenges your peers are facing.


Submitted by: WISE NYC Metro member | 6-15 years professional experience

What do you do when someone on your team is not cutting it? How many chances do you give someone? How do you motivate a person that doesn't seem to be able to motivate themselves?


Focus on the business. What’s the impact of the team member not performing? At what point does their lack of performance compromise business results? Answering those questions will give you a general guide to how long you have to resolve performance issues.

Beyond that, it’s a judgment call. Have you clearly and consistently made your expectations known? Have you given them a fair shot? If so, then you’ve done what you can and this individual has made their choice. One caveat though: is it possible that this person is in the wrong role? Do they have talents that are underutilized? If so, perhaps transferring them to a different area is a good solution for everyone.

There are only two ways to motivate people: fear and hope. If you’ve tried both, you’ve done what you can and it’s time to cut the cord. Most companies have a formal process for putting someone on probation. Check with HR to get their input.

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Amanda Mitchell

About Amanda Mitchell

Amanda Mitchell, Corporate Navigator at Our Corporate Life, helps people just like you find what they love to do so they can have more of it in their work life. You'll be happier, your employer will be happier and ultimately corporate suffering will be reduced.

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