10 Secrets to Motivating Teenagers

Teenage Motivation

We’ve all been teenagers, but as we age we forget how to connect with young people. We think that we can just tell them what to do and they’ll do it. Wouldn’t that be great?

As a manager you also need to play to teenager’s Superpowers, so they feel powerful and enjoy what they do. When you help them discover what they are good at they will be more willing to give you their full effort.

Most teenagers are a different kind of human until they get a few years of work experience or college under their belts. They think differently and feel differently than adults do. Try to remember when you were young and you had hormones pushing through you and all you could do was think about sex. That’s the first trick.

1. Put Yourself in Their Shoes

When you can put yourself in their position you can learn how to motivate teenagers. Teenagers may be weird, but they have emotions just like you and me. They’re just a little more intense. When dealing with a teenager make sure you are sympathetic to their needs. Make sure you see #4 Don’t Be a Push-over because they will take advantage of you if you let them.

2. Show Them Their Mistakes and How to Improve Them

Teenagers don’t pick up on adult concepts as quickly as adults. Well, duh. You will be surprised by how many business owners don’t understand this concept. Teenagers may be geniuses on the computer or multi-tasking, but they learned these things like everything else. When they make a mistake, explain what they did wrong and how they can improve it. This may need to be done a few times before they catch on.

3. Give Them the Respect They Seek

Giving a teenager the respect that he or she deserves will go a long way in earning their trust. Most adults treat teenagers like teenagers when all they want is to be treated like the man or woman that they are trying to be. Talk to them like an adult and they will raise their level of work.

4. Don’t Be a Push-over

A teenager will take two feet when given a foot, so make sure you set boundaries and if they cross them then document it and let them know. If they continue to cross the line then don’t be afraid to let them go if they you need to.

5. Enjoy a Good Laugh

There is nothing a teenager likes doing more than enjoying a good laugh. Yes they may be moody, but when a teenager is in a good mood it can be down right infectious to the rest of the staff, so allow them to get excited and have a good time.

6. Listen to Them

Teenagers want to help. They may be selfish, but they aren’t stupid. They can see things that you can’t. Listen to their suggestions. If they give you an idea that won’t work then let them know why and show appreciation for their efforts. If they have a good idea, tell them that you want to hear more and ask them to come up with a plan on how to implement it.

7. Have Patience with Their Learning Curve

Their learning curve is a little steeper than most adults, but their potential is greater too. Once a teenager catches on to a concept they make it their own.

8. Reward Them

The Gen Y generation and younger grew up being rewarded for blowing their nose. They don’t take well to harsh discipline, so when they do something good even without your approval, reward them. Give them an extra hour for lunch or a $20 bonus. Their idea might have saved you hundreds of dollars, so disperse the wealth.

9. Don’t Yell at Them

Teenagers hate to be yelled at. They get enough of that from their parents, teachers, and friends, so speak with an even toned voice when you’re upset. Make sure they understand that you never want to see such behavior, but don’t make a scene out of it.

10. Train Your Staff to be Patient

Many retailers employ young people because they are cheap labor and as a result, they are treated as “second class” employees by the rest of the staff. Big mistake. Train your staff to treat them as equals. When the rest of the staff gives them respect they will be more respectful to the customer.

Managing Teenagers Review

Teenagers want to do good work if they are given the right atmosphere in which to do it. They will need a little more attention, but you will find a few gems that make it all worth the effort. Who knows, that one little gem of a teenager might one day help you run your company.

If you are a small business owner you should check out my marketing blog that spawned from Work Happy Now. Super Power Coach has a free 7 lesson e-course called Supercharge Your Marketing that you may want to sign up for to improve your social media marketing.

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Photo courtesy  Cavier

14 thoughts on “10 Secrets to Motivating Teenagers”

  1. Here’s another to add into the list.

    By being there for teenagers and by being with them, not exactly needing to be actively involved, but by being spontaneous gains huge respect.

    The need to have a figure and have your presence with them is a huge encouragement to teenagers. Even more better if you are already a high achiever that they can look up to. 🙂

    Daniel Richard | WE’s last blog post..Running and Finishing the Excellence Mile! – Part 2 of 2

  2. I think it’s a lot harder to be a teenager than it is to be an adult (at least that’s been my experience). Teenagers who have a lot of adults that they can rely on (at home, their extended family, their neighbos, at work, and so on) tend to do a lot better in life than those who have few adults they know they can turn to for help and advice.

    Marelisa’s last blog post..Tap Into the Power of the Magician

  3. Hey Daniel, being there is so important. I think that would make a great addition to the list. They need active guidance not just someone telling them what to do, but being there to support them.

  4. Hey Marelisa, I think you are right. Being a teenager is a pain in the butt. I would never go back to my teens because of all the hormones and emotions. I like the older me because I’m more stable and enjoy my life so much more.

    Because we understand what it’s like to be a teenager, we have an opportunity to help teens develop into good people. Parents, teachers, uncles and aunts all need to chip in and make a difference in their lives. The old saying is so true – it takes a village to raise a child.

  5. Matt @ Face Your Fork

    Sounds like a list that could easily be applied to any person, not just teens. 😉

    I think listening and understanding are the two most important things; once you do those, the rest of your suggestions easily fall into place.

    Matt @ Face Your Fork’s last blog post..Discovering Your Top Life Values

  6. I have a very moody teenage girl, she won’t talk , as soon as she meets friends she turns into a delight, is it me.

  7. Hi Mary, it is you and it isn’t you. Teenagers are all trying to find their way. They do this in thousands of ways. Your teenage girl is taking it out on you because she is growing into herself. You’ve probably already heard this, but don’t take it personal. She will eventually get over this phase. If you stick by her and give her the love she needs she’ll turn back around.

    I know it’s rough now, but it won’t last forever. I promise.

  8. Hi, My 18 yr old son used to be quite a high achiever in middle school years with our help and support. We sent him to a boarding school for high school, during which he found that he was not the smatest one in about every aspect he is involved. He seems to have developed a habit to be a very bad procrasnator, going overdue with school projects again and again. Despite so, he did not give up, still tried to get some how a good grade with a few classes slacked off on a grade that he would never accept before. The concern is that he is learning to accept the bad grades and not feeling bad about them while we know that he had more potentials to do better. Now he also becomes quite glued to online video games, reading blogs about the games more than a dozen hours a day and often stays up until very late without going to bed. Now in the summer break, the only thing he actually is interested to do at home (other than going to work for three days) is being glued to the computer monitor. It surprised me that he is not even interested to watch movies when we called him to join. If asked what he wants to do with his life, he really can not come up with an answer. All he cares about (at least it seems to me) is playing the games. He is not being responsive to friends reaching to him. He is always reative to his life challenges that come to him. I am very glad that he found a job to work 3 days a week, which will drag him out of the house and forces him to interact with all kinds of people. At the same time, he will gain real life experiences. How in the world can I help him realize that his destiny is in his own hands and find a purpose of life, strive for it and fight for it? Both his parents are hard workers and responsible people. We believe that we have set good examples for him. One example is that during his middle school years, we did not even watch TV so that he did not get distracted or felt unfair that he had to work hard while his parents had fun with TV. I wonder what we did wrong to make him becoming careless, lazy (as he described himself some times), irresponsive and a big procrasnator. It just bothers me so deeply to see him that way without signs of him getting on the right track to drive his life on his own. Desperately yours,

  9. Really helpfull article.
    We’re sometimes forget that teenager is quite different person then we, and we cannot expect from teenager to behave like the adult “out of the box”.

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