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Team Motivation in Your Club

In our current webinar sessions, I’ve been focussing on Emotional Intelligence and the role it plays in a club manager’s ability to understand, relate to and work with those around them in making their team more productive and harmonious.

And a key element of this is motivation. What motivates the individuals in your team and your team as a whole?

Motivation is an incredibly powerful tool for club managers and an important aspect of working in a club. However, it doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. Incredibly, studies suggest that only a staggering 15% of workers worldwide felt motivated and engaged at work. And the resultant financial cost to a club, of demotivated and disengaged teams, is damning.

When individuals or teams aren’t performing as well as they could, it is interesting where we point the finger of “blame”. Perhaps it’s the “new norm” where people are more comfortable being distant from each other and working from home. Maybe, it’s a “generational thing”. Or, perhaps, it’s just their “personality”.

Giving it the attention it deserves is vitally important because motivated individuals and teams give their best efforts and are characterised by:

  • Improved productivity

  • Higher retention

  • Lower levels of absenteeism

  • Enhanced club reputation and image

  • Stronger recruitment potential

  • Increased engagement

  • More innovation and creativity

  • Better team trust and relationships

What Motivates Us?

Motivational psychologists and researchers have recently discovered more about what motivates us than the decades of past research. One theory, that explains individual motivation and its key drivers is Deci and Ryan’s theory of self-determination.

Self-determination theory (SDT) is all about human motivation and the key drivers that trigger it. The theory asserts that everyone is inherently driven and motivated, but the correct conditions need to be established to facilitate this.

SDT recognises the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic motivators and how these can affect motivation:

  • Intrinsic motivation comes from completing a task that is enjoyable and interesting. Let’s say one of your teams is working on a project that they enjoy; it won’t be a chore to work long and hard on it– as it’s something they want to do.

  • Extrinsic motivation is when you are motivated to perform a task by the rewards or the fear of repercussions. Imagine the same team is assigned a task they do not enjoy. They will still finish it, but their motivation will be different. They will be driven by the rewards (recognition, bonuses, impressing peers) or the fear of being reprimanded.

1. Competence: This is the desire to feel effective and in control of the environment and the outcome of the task. You can help with this by ensuring everyone is placed in the correct role and is sufficiently trained. Allow your team members to express their skills and strengths.

2. Autonomy: This is the extent to which your team member has the freedom to decide how and when they will fulfil their duties. SDT suggests that being autonomous is not the same as being independent. It simply means having a sense of free will when completing tasks. You can do this by demonstrating trust and avoiding micromanaging.

3. Relatedness: This refers to our need to experience personal relationships and a sense of belonging to social groups. Encouraging collaboration in your club, celebrating victories and rectifying mistakes together.

Extrinsic Drivers of Motivation

1. Set Expectations and Be Consistent: Team members need to know and understand the para­me­ters of their work and what’s expected of them. What is the level of performance that elicits a ​“job well done” or pos­i­tive recog­ni­tion? Often, doing their job well and receiv­ing pos­i­tive feed­back is moti­vat­ing enough.

2. Financial Incentives: Whilst surveys have implied that money alone isn’t enough to moti­vate employ­ees don’t be dissuaded to use it. Mon­ey is a pow­er­ful moti­va­tor. High salaries, peri­od­ic pay rais­es, pro­mo­tions and cash bonus­es are great ways to extrin­si­cal­ly moti­vate employ­ees.

3. Unconventional Incentives: Alternative incentives can inspire just as much pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and excitement as cash, if not more. For example:- a gift card, lunch at the club, extra holidays, tickets to a concert or sporting event. It’s important to tailor them to the individual team member.

4. Positive Recognition: Team members value com­mu­ni­ca­tion and crave feedback. Great work deserves to be recognised. They want to know that you sin­cere­ly val­ue their hard work and respect them as peo­ple, so open com­mu­ni­ca­tion can be a sig­nif­i­cant source of extrin­sic motivation. Again, choose the method of recognition to suit the team member.

Our upcoming webinar explores motivation and other areas of managing a harmonious and productive team. For more information and to register, visit,

One of the key modules in the Club Managers Leadership and Management program is “Developing Emotional Intelligence”, which covers these areas and many others as part of building club manager acumen and tools. For more information on the program and modules visit


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