Building and maintaining team motivation and momentum

Leaders communicate aspirational and inspirational messages that influence others to motivate themselves. However, to get things done through others, leaders must also build and maintain momentum over time.

Leaders first motivate themselves, and then establish an environment that enables others to motivate themselves too. Leaders can be self-starters, appointed, or emergent.

The members of a self-managed team work together to achieve a mission and vision based upon direction from a higher authority. The team establishes its mission, vision, objectives, and goals as a sub-set of those of the enterprise. There may be little to no room for negotiation on what the overall goals are, but only the terms by which they are achieved. However, without the ability to shape mission, vision, objectives, and interim goals, the self-managed team can resort to becoming a group of individual contributors. A self-directed team is both self-managed and establishes its own direction almost exclusively. Leaders may emerge from both self-managed and self-directed teams.


It is essential that teams operate within the context of the values, mission, and values of the enterprise, otherwise organizational silos can result.

A “leader-managed” team serves under an appointed leader who can be either power-centric or empowering. In either case, the relationship between the leader and team members is initially directive. The leader establishes the objectives and goals for the team. However an empowering leader has the intention of delegating to a self-managed, and subsequently a self-directed team over time, whereas a power-centric leader does not.

Both power-centric and empowering leaders should welcome team members, assess their readiness for tasks in terms of commitment and competence, assign tasks by balancing the competencies between individuals, and provide the necessary resources. Training programs may be required to prepare team members for tasks and advancement.

Power-centric leaders use rewards and punishments, and may micro manage. Micro managers may take credit for themselves, and prevent others from advancing. Empowering leaders build and maintain both motivation and momentum to gain results, from which others can advance over time.


Momentum is built by maintaining the ingredients for self motivation – positive attitude, ambition, confidence, commitment, and self assessment. Self assessment involves determining the aptitude, qualifications, ability, proficiency, and experience for tasks and future opportunities.

Momentum is maintained by identifying positive role models that team members can aspire to; overcoming obstacles, resolving conflict, giving feedback on a timely basis; and recognizing and rewarding accomplishments. Leaders cannot expect team members to duplicate success without reward and recognition. However, once momentum is built, it is easier to migrate from one task to the next.

Giving feedback is accomplished through guidance from mentoring and coaching. Mentoring addresses the personal and professional competencies of each team member – intra (self) and inter-personal skills, and functional knowledge and technical skills. Coaching addresses the enterpriship competencies that enable team members to assume entrepreneurial, leadership, and managerial roles with increased levels of responsibility in the future as they become empowered. In effect mentoring is about understanding what the rules are and why, and coaching is about how the rules are applied.


Whereas empowering leaders initially assess the readiness of team members for tasks, momentum is achieved by enabling team members to assess themselves, and make adjustments from mentoring and coaching accordingly. As such, the relationship becomes supportive as the leader delegates to the team members, first as self-managed, and then later as self-directed. Empowered team members are also able to assume leadership roles elsewhere in the enterprise as they advance.

Empowerment is an enterpriship (entrepreneurship, leadership, and management) competency.


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The notions of Individualpreneurship and enterpriship have been developed by The Business Leadership Development Corporation.
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