Arguably the No.1 management skill is to be able to engage, motivate and inspire people at work. Achieve that small matter and both great performance and outstanding results are inevitable; fail in this area and you will notice how quickly talent and knowledge leave the organisation. So how can managers develop this essential skill?

The focus for those who want to become more powerful in this area is to recognise the need that people have to do work that they care about. This isn’t flaky. There is money to be made in emotion. Indeed, it can be said with complete confidence, that emotion underpins commercial transactions everywhere. Managers want enthusiastic staff, businesses want emotionally satisfied consumers, team leaders want energised and energising colleagues.

But how many managers know whether their direct reports derive any sort of satisfaction or pleasure from their work? And if they knew that most employees feel capable of improving their performance by at least 30 percent, would that give them enough of an incentive to find out?

The proposition is compelling. People who deliver the best results are typically inspired by what they are doing. Their work has meaning for them; in contrast to this, those who are denied the opportunity to contribute through their work will soon look elsewhere for ways in which they can make their mark. Given this equation, there is then a powerful case to be made for managers to explore with their people not only what it is that gives them a sense of meaning, but to help them in taking actions which are congruent with their sense of purpose.

But is there enough meaningful and inspiring work to go around? The answer to this is yes; meaning and inspiration is available to people in all sorts of everyday ways. Some will get it from the service they provide to the public, others from the way they work together with their colleagues, and many will derive huge pleasure and satisfaction from the detail of what they are doing and what interests them. In this respect, meaning and personal motivation come from what the individual is investing in.

The challenge that this leaves for managers is therefore to help their people make it really clear what engages them - and then to help them act and behave in accordance with their own values, beliefs and goals. This may require a quite different sort of conversation between managers and their direct reports, but it is a conversation guaranteed to fire people up.

Our range of motivation programmes all share one common objective; to improve your performance at work. Find outm more about our ‘Motivate’ courses, workshops and diagnostic tools at

Author's Bio: 

Clive Lewis is one of the world's leading experts in Mind Mapping, speed reading, creative thinking and understanding what motivates and engages people in the workplace. He is also the Managing Director and co-founder of Illumine Training.

Clive has unparalleled experience of delivering keynote speeches and practical breakout sessions to diverse groups and organisations throughout the public and private sectors in the UK. He has developed a reputation for delivering entertaining and inspiring keynote speeches and presentations. Some recent engagements have included:

A Mind Mapping and Problem Solving Keynote for The Bank of America (delivered over 3 continents through live audience and video conferencing).
Creativity for the Managers Conference at Royal Bank of Scotland Assistance.
Professional Institute Conferences and branch events for CIPD, ACCA, CIMA and Junior Chamber of Commerce International
Drawing on his strong business background (along with a business degree and Accounting qualification he has worked to FD level in the IT industry, and as Senior Management Consultant) Clive creates customised interactive experiences to ensure meaningful dialogue among attendees. Sessions can be based around key themes, current issues or shared working experiences. His business understanding is reinforced with his regular training and coaching of a range of clients in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. He works at all levels within organisations and his experience of and enthusiasm for his subjects shines through in all of his speaking opportunities.

Clive is also a highly experienced executive coach providing one to one coaching to senior business professionals.

Clive's profile is such that he is frequently asked to comment in the media. He has been interviewed for news programmes on BBC Radio 2, the World Service, Channel Five and Five Live as well as most of the major national newspapers. In addition he has written many articles about managing information overload and creative thinking. Most recently these include The Guardian, Training Journal, The Manager, Personnel Today and Customer Management.

Clive was elected a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants in 1992 and is a member of the Institute of Directors. Prior to co-founding Illumine he spent eight years as a Senior Management Consultant with Coopers & Lybrand. As a Consultant he led many assignments in diverse industries and has worked in many different countries.

If you would like Clive to speak at your next event call us on +44 (0)1753 866633, or email