5 Ways to Motivate Your Boss

Everybody knows as a matter of reference, that worker bees need to be motivated. Since days of old, psychologists and behaviorists have theorized, hypothesized, and studied the effects of workplace productivity and why we do what we do. Not to mention, there must be hundreds of books devoted to this timely topic.

Of course it doesn’t take “rocket science” to realize that most folks respond well to rewards, positive feedback and perks. That’s a given.

But what many fail to recognize is that leaders need to be motivated too! That’s right: those that pat others on the back occasionally need a little “stroking” too.

I can say this with confidence as someone who has “managed,” led, directed, and served as an overseer on everything from a home, to a business, to work projects, to a successful creative organization for artists.

After doing more than my share of “rah, rah, rah go team go” I’m running out of steam!
And I imagine that other folks that share my life’s walk also share my point of view.

Think about it.

When was the last time you shared a word of encouragement or appreciation with your boss, pastor, Girl Scout Troop Leader, Block Club President, Editor, or the Captain of your car pool?

Heck, even God loves praise!

And in the world of work it’s even more crucial. The reason? The better your boss feels, the more likely he is to be energized, empowered, engaged and inclined to top performance and bottom line objectives.
And from where I’m sitting that’s a win-win situation all the way around.

With this being said, here are five ways to motivate and “incentivize” your boss.

1. Show appreciation. Let’s face it. Unless your boss is a real schmuck, it takes a lot of effort, time, and business savvy to lead. Every now and then say thank you with a card, gift, smile, or quick Email. Treat folks how you would like to be treated. Possessions and position only go so far in the way of perks.

2. Value our time. One thing that really frosts my “cupcakes” is having someone to waste my time. You know the culprits…people who are chronically late without regard or apology. Folks who are no-shows for meetings, people who don’t R.S.V.P., and those who don’t return phone calls or messages. Get a clue! My time is valuable too. Hello? Here’s a case in point. A few weeks ago, I called a meeting for one of my organizations to discuss important matters that required input to move forward and make related decisions. I broke my neck to get there, didn’t eat, and found that I was the only one there on time. Later, three folks straggled in anywhere from 30 minutes to almost two hours late. One person was M.I.A. after sending an Email to say she would come. Don’t get me wrong, no matter how well we plan our days, Murphy’s Law can throw a curve ball in things. I get that. But to not call, to blow things off, and to tie up other folks is really rude. Really.

3. Don’t be a part of the problem, be a part of the solution. These days everybody’s a critic. Why not bring something else to the table? Perhaps you can detect a flaw in your system that the big guy can’t see. Or you have an idea on how to boost declining sales, or you know how to fix the whatchamacallit at work. You’ll save the company time, money, and be the hero for the day!

4.“R-E-S-P-E-C-T” find out what it means to me. When soul singer Aretha Franklin released this hit song many moons ago, it became the mantra for women everywhere. But, it also applies to professional relationships as well. Nobody is saying that you have to bow down or brown nose, or even like your boss. Just make sure to show that you recognize his role of authority and adhere to his requests when possible. Trust me; it won’t kill you.

5. Realize we’re human too. Don’t hold us to ridiculous standards, undue scrutiny, and unrealistic expectations. Please note that we bleed, cry, suffer, get ill, have doubts, family issues, financial woes, crazy relatives, clueless mates, challenges, pet peeves, obligations and problems of our own.

To put it mildly, we don’t need for you to add to our “real life soap opera”. Consider this a public service message, or the simple rantings of a leader who is long overdue for a little T.L.C. or a vacation to the Bahamas.


Popular search terms for this article:

how to motivate your boss, words of encouragement for your boss, words of encouragement for boss, words of encouragement for a boss, how to motivate boss, how to encourage your boss, encouraging words for your boss, Motivating your boss, motivate your boss, how to motivate my boss

Jennifer Brown Banks is a veteran freelance writer, popular relationship columnist and Managing Editor at Coffeehouseforwriters.com. Formerly an "awesome" public relations professional, she now enjoys the spoils of the entrepreneurial life. Additionally, she is a columnist for Technorati.


  1. Karen Lange on the 19th October

    Great points and tips! I think this applies to others in our lives, too. Having sat on both sides of the fence, I know it takes a lot to lead and organize. And you’re right, we get tired and have lives too. Thanks, Jennifer. There’s a few people I need to go email…

  2. Marcie Hill on the 19th October

    Believe it or not, I was thinking of you and was going to call and say hello. I can now use this opportunity to thank you for your support and to let you know that I’m proud of your accomplishments and to keep pressing forward in all you do.

    And the “frost my cupcakes” was good! I’m going to use that one day! 🙂

  3. Jennifer Brown Banks on the 19th October


    Glad you got something useful from this post. Happy too that you took the time to share your thoughts here. Now get that email list going…:-)

  4. Jennifer Brown Banks on the 19th October

    Thanks, Marcie! Right back at ya’.

  5. Evelyn @ Become a Healthier You on the 19th October

    Hi Jennifer,
    Interesting post!

    When I was working outside my home, I rarely motivated my boss. I guess because he got on my nerves so bad. I tried not complaining and I put up with it. But when someone does me wrong and is not fair, it is so hard for me to continue being nice to them. I’m so glad I don’t work for that person anymore.

    But in the event I have another boss, I will be sure to keep your tips in mind.

    Take care,


    • Jennifer Brown Banks on the 20th October


      I understand. Been there. Done that. 🙂 I’m not suggesting that folks “buddy-up” to a bad boss. I’m suggesting that we continue to encourage the good ones! And minimally understand that there’s a psychology behind behavior and motivation.

      Thanks so much for your time and comments.

  6. Jennifer Brown Banks on the 19th October


    You’re welcome. Thanks for your feedback and your time.

  7. Nikola on the 19th October

    Superwoman strikes again!
    I really admire your work (and energy) Jen! And always find your articles to be sources of inspiration. Thanks for sharing your talents with us up and coming superheroes. 🙂

    • Jennifer Brown Banks on the 20th October


      How awesome! Thanks for this. Now get back to work!
      Just kiddin’.:-)

  8. Jennifer Brown Banks on the 22nd October


    How kind of you! Much appreciation.

  9. Sibyl - alternaview on the 23rd October

    What a great post and great advice for everyone who needs to understand the best way to connect with and “manage” their manager. I do think it is so true that we have to really think about how we can work well with managers and approach them in the right way. I think it is also great advice to be solution oriented and bring new and fresh ideas to the table. Great post … as always Jen.

Add a Comment