Motivating "passive" team members

How can I motivate passive team members who are resistant to changes and see themselves as “good enough” at what they do?

Two tough questions any leader must consider are:

  1. “How do I motivate people to work on their development?”
  2. “How do I make sure people work on the right things?”

Improve your conversations with employees. Begin with appreciative inquiry. Focus on what is working and build on existing strengths – the good things. Get people talking about their dreams, goals and struggles. Stimulate people to gather their own information for change. Ask questions like:

  • How do you know your strengths?
  • What can you do to be sure?
  • What can you do to get better? (to be better?)
  • What do you want that you haven’t yet achieved?
  • What seems just beyond your reach?
  • What do you think might be getting in your way?

Offer objective feedback in these conversations. Highlight consequences of behavior, both good and bad. If they are defensive, frame your observations as opinions for them to consider. Your goal is to improve understanding, not provide them with “the truth”. Teach people how to listen to feedback. Let others know you are serious about considering and using feedback.

Ask direct, specific questions to elicit precise feedback, e.g. “Tell me how you…?” Keep asking, “What else?” until they say, “That’s all.” Don’t defend or argue, just thank people for their input. Offer personal goals as well as organizational standards and expectations to prioritize development efforts.

Keep the conversation alive and maturing. Establish a regular process for sharing feedback with your team. Invite people to have experienced and peer mentors and coaches. Challenge people to consider their real development barriers and develop solutions with your support. Consider additional coaching for them.

Ask for a free white paper on “How to Motivate Employees” at

About pdncoach

A Go-Giver business coach working with leaders whose success depends on the performance and productivity of others. I coach individual leaders and their teams... in small to mid-size businesses, ministries and non-profits... to accelerate their results and achieve dreams by getting past the difficult, strategic challenges of their current realities.
This entry was posted in appreciative inquiry, change, coaching, dreams, feedback, goal, goals, motivate, personal development, questions, solutions, strengths, team. Bookmark the permalink.

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