Motivating People Starts With Building Emotional Connections — Troy T. Taylor

3 min readJul 28, 2022


Photo by Tamanna Rumee on Unsplash

An inherent facet of leadership, especially in hybrid or remote work environments, is motivating employees. How can you inspire employees to not only flourish in their day-to- day operations, but to problem-solve and innovate? The power of emotion, often overlooked in corporate culture, is vital to an individual’s motivation. Growing real, human connections with colleagues and employees is crucial in creating an innovative work

I recently read an article from the Harvard Business Review titled “Motivating People Starts with Building Emotional Connections”, by Scott Edinger. This article recognizes the importance of connecting with teams, peers, and supervisors in an authentic, human way; that is, seeing coworkers as peers to connect with rather than just as their roles in the organization. As said by Edinger, “It’s the emotions that you as a leader evoke within others that enable you to bring out the best in them.” He describes three ways that
executives and leaders can embrace connecting with the people they work with, all which embolden their motivation.

“1. Cultivate the energy that flows from enthusiasm.
Most of us have felt an added wind in our sails when we are excited about a project or the work we are doing. As a leader, you can channel this energy by sharing your passion for the results that need to be achieved. But first, you may need to access it yourself.

It’s most effective to consistently draw connections for your team between the mundane and your vision for the future: a necessary set of tasks or a short-term grind can lead to important outcomes for your customers, patients, guests, the business, or the environment. Whatever the results are, establishing a clear line of sight with vitality can create a dynamic drive forward.”

“2. Recognize what’s behind anger and put it to better use.

Anger has a place in leadership. It’s a powerful emotion and drives action… unfortunately, it is often misused and loses its effectiveness. For leaders, the most effective way to express anger is by rationally expressing the real concern behind the anger… it’s the emotions behind anger that can help you connect in a more meaningful way and strengthen relationships.

Showing this kind of transparency about your feelings may be called vulnerability, and it can be a catalyst for building trust, fostering collaboration, and galvanizing teams…This opens an opportunity for candid conversations with team members about not meeting a standard or an expectation, which can ultimately drive your team to commit more effort,
correct critical mistakes, and finally address long-standing problems.”

“3. Drive deeper engagement with a focus on development.
Focusing on developing the people who work for you is an investment driving long-term business results. Time spent helping them perform better is what drives the emotional connection that leads to employee loyalty, motivation, and greater success for the team.

Employing emotion as part of your toolkit of leadership skills doesn’t require a lot of additive time. It does require a commitment to engage differently. Be willing to share what you are feeling with an intention to connect with others and try to understand how others are feeling as well. In my experience, the more leaders work on this, the better the results of those they lead.”




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