A frequent question or topic of discussion with Scrum Masters, in course of coaching, is on motivation. How does one motivate the team members? A difficult question, which does not have “a” right answer/ approach.

As a leader, one needs to deliver what is expected of him or her, this delivery is done by the team, a capable and motivated team is a necessity. So a leader needs to deliver, as well as grow and nurture the team to be capable and motivated. The better the team is, the better he or she can deliver. Internalizing of this truth, by the leader helps significantly, as all of the actions will be emanating from this inner thought/ belief.

What motivates a person, will vary from person to person and the leader should be able to gauge that or elicit that. At times the leader may not be in a position to meet/fullfil those needs, nevertheless keeping the following aspects in mind helps.

There is a book by Daniel Pink, DRiVE and he talks about what what motivates people and one may find that surprising. The factors are Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. There are short and crisp videos of this concept available, click the video grab above, it is a must view.

This fits in well with the characteristics of a servant leader, as well as a self organizing team. There has to be a vision for the team, there has to be growth and independence for the individual.

Another aspect is the Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory, which talks about the Hygiene factors and Motivating factors. Hygiene factors are salary, benefits, work place environment, etc., which if absent causes dis-satisfaction, but if present may not lead to motivation. Motivating factors are challenging work, recognition, doing meaningful work, etc. Bear in mind that these two factors are independent of each other.

The above was based on preceded by Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which talks about basic needs and how the needs change as one grows.

The video assimilates all of these into one interesting and crisp artifact.

With the above information, one gets pretty clear picture on the possible approach to motivate the team. It may look difficult, but with focus, driven by awareness of the need for motivated teams, one can be successful at this. There are some simple instruments, that can help track this, more on that later.