According to sports psychology, many factors come into play when motivating your team mates. In the office, you have various tactics at your disposal. You can recall and recite the team’s previous success stories, highlight other outstanding examples, and use illustrations. A bit of provocation might also do the trick.
Every team needs a moderately difficult target to aim for. It needs to be feasible and slightly more ambitious than what the team can actually achieve. Also keep in mind that every player gets motivated in different ways.
Find what makes each one tick
A good coach knows how to manage every individual’s emotions right before he or she steps onto the pitch. In the office, one-on-one conversations have the same effect.
In big companies, sitting down with everyone individually rather than together with a team of eleven players is of course more time consuming, but you need to invest in it in order to find and hit everyone’s sweet spot. After all, you don’t want a player who runs onto the field overly motivated and confident only to receive a red card right away. Nor do you want a player who just stands there waiting for five minutes and then lets a goal in.
Lots of players have one thing that motivates them on a personal level (favorite music with a certain beat, for example). It helps them relax and prepare for competition.
Make way for metaphors
You can inspire people by using motivational pictures that, in most cases, have value to the entire team. The best images convey metaphors of success. You can also hang up pictures of the team’s previous successes in the locker room and in the office. Well-chosen visuals stir up positive emotions and boost the players’ motivation in the moment.
During the preparation phase over several months, catchy mottos come in handy. Mottos create a common language that everyone in the team identifies with. Often the phrase acts as a positive trigger. Similarly, many teams have a battle cry they shout out right before leaving the locker room.
Some of these motivational tools act as placebos, but players still believe in them. We know this phenomenon well: Many players are superstitious, believing it matters whether you put on the right or the left boot first. No matter what their trigger is, when one player is motivated, the sentiment spreads across the entire team.
Beliefs and superstitions can be powerful but never underestimate the power of the locker room talk in bringing out the best in everyone.