Inspiring and motivating team members to give their best is a complicated issue, as evidenced by the thousands of articles and books produced by writers and bloggers on the subject each year. It is as much about interpersonal relationships, as it is about design and software skills to meet job challenges at hand.

Consider these five basic, yet critical, tasks when inspiring and motivating your team.

Take the time to get to know each member well, both as individuals and as members of the team.
Develop a friendship based on sincerity, and loyalty will follow. One of the keys is frequent personal interaction. Find a connection and share information, links, resources or cool blogs based on mutual interests. Meet for lunch or after work events. Be aware of body language and listen actively. Give yourself time to see, really see, and understand the dynamics of the team.

Motivate colleagues to be invested in the process.
Keep the focus, goals and initiative under control. Create preparation buy-in. Prior to presenting your idea or goal to the larger audience, invite your team to critique the thought. It is far better to respectfully engage any adversaries and prepare yourself and your team for what will be thrown at you. Allow people to surprise you in this venue. Empower team members to express their ideas and enable members for continuous improvement. Focus your attention and efforts on the process so training your team will be equally invested. Keep the team spirit enthusiasm. Engage members in order to build confidence and attack both task- and skill-oriented obstacles previously thought impossible. Use humor to turn interactions into productive outcomes. Keep courtesy and consideration for others foremost in your mind. Sincerity, optimism and inspiration are more appreciated than sarcasm, passive aggressiveness and negativity.

Be yourself.
Understand that your goal is to satisfy not everyone else's expectations, but your own. You give your best to inspire others to do the same. Trust yourself.

Have patience and the belief that things will work out as they should.
Success is giving 100% of your effort, but also inspiring and motivating others to participate. Believe that you are in control of your own success. It is up to you.

As graphic designers, art directors, writers, creatives and IT team architects, we have become so sophisticated in our work that we forget to observe and reflect on life. We are respectful and can identify consumer, end-user, colleague and leadership needs, but sometimes fail to understand the obvious. We have an obligation to not only inspire and motivate ourselves, but also our team and other teams, to plan our progress more effectively and address how to bring out the best in all areas of life.