Supervisory Leadership

Site Map About Wally Bock Media Center Speeches & Training
Home Page
Book Reviews
Got a Question or Comment?
Wally Bock Answers Your
Supervisory Leadership Question

How do you keep folks motivated?

Strangely enough, the way to keep folks motivated begins with understanding that you can't really motivate anyone. You can't get inside their head and get them to do what you want. All you can do is use the things you can control to influence them to choose behaviors that you want.

Start with your behavior. What you do sets the example. What you pay attention to is what your people will see as important. What you say tells them what you expect.

Pay special attention to the things you can control about the workplace. As a boss, you may be able to award bonuses, make work assignments, decide on partnering, and lots more. Use that control, with your behavior, to create a working environment that is fair and includes interesting and meaningful work. Help people grow and develop.

As a boss, you probably have control over the consequences of people's behavior. It's your job to deliver those consequences. Use positive consequences to get folks to try things or to get more of behavior that you want. Use negative consequences to get folks to stop doing something. Remember that positive consequences are best when delivered inconsistently while negative ones are best delivered consistently.


You may reprint or repost this article providing that the following conditions are met:

  • The article remains essentially unaltered.
  • Wally Bock is shown as the author.
  • The notice Copyright 2005 by Wally Bock or similar appears on the article.
  • Contact information for Wally is included with the article. You may refer readers to this Web site as a way to meet this requirement, or use the information on our contact page.

Any other reprinting or reposting requires specific permission which is almost always granted. Click here to request permission if necessary.


Got a supervisory leadership question for Wally? He'll answer as many questions as his workload permits and put the ones with most universal interest on this site. By asking your question you agree that it may appear here at some future time. Your name and affiliation will not be used on the site in conjunction with your question.

To ask Wally a supervisory leadership question, click here to go to our question form.


© 2005 Wally Bock. Click for Contact Information.