Look! No Hands. How To Keep Your Team Motivated

Rowan Blair Colver
4 min readFeb 1, 2021


Lucid Leadership by Rowan B Colver

Harness Your Team

The people around us are there to help, if it’s their job then it’s all they want to do. If you’re looking at a network you work with or a group of friends then the exchanges are more balanced. Often we want a new and different result from our team and we do our best to get it. Every so often, though, the team doesn’t function how you want it. Either they don’t seem to listen or don’t seem to see the importance. It can be frustrating to ask people to do something until we are blue in the face. There are some people out there who will advise you to beg and plead for help. This is not helpful in the long term, desperation limits our authority in our chosen area. If we show signs of desperation and put our power into other people’s hands unnecessarily then our ability to control our own market is reduced. There’s a better way, one which retains our dignity and puts the character of those around us to the best use. Presuming those around you want the best for you, these mindsets will help keep the social balance in check.

Don’t Tell People What To Do

We have natural friction in our minds to any form of control and some feel it more than others. It can be quite disorientating and demeaning to have a person come into our focus and tell us what to do step by step. We usually have things under control and we don’t want someone else to take that away from us. When we instruct people, we put their efforts into our own hands. If a puppet makes a wrong move in the theatre, it’s the puppeteer who is at fault. If we act like puppeteers then we ultimately take responsibility for the outcome. This disempowers the team member and removes their sense of place.

Give People The Right Tools

So we want to let our team get on with their jobs with little input from us. That’s good leadership, we set the example and let the others take their own reins. We’re not on the sledge mushing a pack of dogs, we’re the ox and the team is the plough. We need to make sure they can cut into the ground with good blades with tensile strength and sharp sides. We need to make sure the yoke is firm and the wheels are level. Take these metaphors to your own team, and make it as easy as possible for them to do their tasks.

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Communicate The Why Not The How

You want an outcome, you need it to be how you have said. This isn’t enough. Yes, you could order everyone to do it and get them all in line but this will reduce morale and create social friction. The reason is the answer. By communicating why you need a particular result and why you need help to get it, the motivation will build itself. We can choose to work in food, sanitation, chemicals, security, media, or any other sector and offer a clear purpose. We do it because we care about the service the sector generates. Remind your team why they do their jobs and they’ll want to do them a bit more.

Keep An Open Mind

So you have a clear vision of an end result, you now have to look at why yourself. Maybe your idea isn’t exactly how things will turn out. After all, you’re leaving it up to other people to get results for you. We can’t do everything ourself, especially in the great big world. So those in your team might have other ideas about getting the result you need. There is likely a wide range of methods available to achieve what is needed for progress. These can’t all pop into one person’s mind. If we let other people offer their own ingenuity and innovation then we can increase our potential by an order of magnitude. Let go of the little picture and take hold of the bigger one, and let your network fill in the gaps. If they know why they’re doing it and they’re given the freedom to think, the end will be enriched with the intelligence and experience of many more minds than just yours.

Recommended Read: Leadership Team Coaching: Developing Collective Transformational Leadership



Rowan Blair Colver

Music writer and humanities educator from Sheffield in England. Democracy of philosophy, comments are welcome. ko-fi.com/rowanblaircolver