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There are many ways in which leaders can motivate their team members, some more obvious than others. Certainly, offering bonuses or paid time off can be a great way to keep your employees happy and engaged—but while there’s a time and a place for that, it’s clearly not something you can do every day.

That’s why it matters to have other means of motivation, and a lot of them won’t cost you a thing. Simply being better at communicating with your employees—offering them praise, constructive feedback, and a broader sense of vision—can go a long way toward boosting their motivation.

But are you communicating in a way that truly motivates? Let me offer you a few points to consider before you answer that question.

Good Communication is Specific

For one thing, it’s always good to offer specific affirmation. If you just give all your employees a blanket encouragement—good job today, everyone!—that doesn’t really show that you’re engaged with their work, nor does it inform them of where they’re shining.

Instead of offering vague encouragements, be precise. Say something like this: “Sarah, your presentation at the meeting today was really well-prepared and well-delivered. I think it gave everyone some compelling data points to consider, and will result in good action steps. Keep up the good work!”

That level of specificity will motivate Sarah much more than if you’d just given her a generic pat on the back.

Good Communication is Personalized

When I say that good communication is personalized, I don’t just mean the message. I mean the delivery method, too.

You may have employees who really thrive on public affirmation—on being praised in front of the group. Others may really prefer text, email, or something one-on-one. As you get to know your employees, you’ll get a better sense for how you should communicate with each.

Good Communication is Missional

One more point I’ll make is that, as you communicate with your employees—whether offering praise or constructive criticism—everything should be relative to the mission. Always make sure your team members know what the big picture is—what the company is trying to achieve, and how each team member plays a role in that.

Through the right forms of communication, you can give your employees the sense of motivation they need—and if you’d like an extra push, I’m always happy to chat with you about my services as a motivational speaker!