By Rob Wiltshire



Getting people motivated is difficult, specifically volunteers. 

Now I don’t know about you, but at times I find it far easier to get my kids out of bed, dressed and their chores done before school, than I do motivating volunteers to action.

One statement that has been drummed into my head surrounding leadership is this: “Leadership is repetition.”

Leadership is doing the same thing again and again.  It’s repeating the task again and again, and then after enough repetition, something clicks with the people we are leading.

Here are some suggestions that just might help us motivate the people around us.




#1 Invite people you don’t think want to help to help

How often do we push people aside as not interested in serving in insert blank without ever having the conversation with them? 

At the start of the year this happened to me.  I was at a team meeting talking about not asking people to serve in areas they wouldn’t be interested in.

I used one of our leaders as an example and said: “I wouldn’t ask them to serve in XYZ area as they wouldn’t be interested.”

I thought I was using a great example only to have it destroyed by the person informing me they would like to do that.

Motivation starts, with a personal invitation.  Don’t write people off as not interested, give them a personal invitation.


#2, Be clear in explaining responsibilities.

People want to know what their responsibility is.  And what goes along with that is, most people want more responsibility than you think they do.  They may not want to be the leader of an area, but they want to feel like the responsibility they have is an asset to the mission.

I’m guilty of this. 

At times I think by toning down the responsibility, people are more likely to engage in the mission.  But what I have discovered is the opposite.  The more responsibility I give them, the more they see the value of their role in serving the mission. 

Be deliberate in giving people more responsibility than less.


#3, People want to know what you expect from them

We assume that people know what we expect, because generally we highlight it so often.  But as much as we feel we highlight our expectations, often it’s not enough.

The rule of thumb with communicating to people is; when you are sick of saying it, people have only just started to notice you are saying something.

If you’re sick of highlighting expectations.  You’ve only just started saying it enough for people to notice your speaking.


#4, People want to know they have done a good job

Not everyone does a good job, specifically when they are new to the role.  And regardless as to how long they have been doing their job, you will always find something for them work on.

Often as leaders we are good at highlighting what they need to work on and not so good at highlighting what was good.

So, here’s a suggestion.  Find two things they did that is good, for every one thing they need to improve on.  And encourage them in it.



#5, Offer practical ways to improve

As much as people want to be encouraged, they also want to grow and get better.  And to be honest, if we are doing #4 right, they will be wanting us to give them practical ways to improve.

Think about this.  What is one thing they could improve on?  Encourage them in that.

People can only retain so much information, specifically when it comes to growing.  Find one thing they could improve on, and give them a practical way to do that.



I believe, if we as leaders apply something as practical as the above 5 points, it will help motivate the people around us to action.