Many startup leaders are able to grow their organizations quickly, thanks to their off-the-charts motivation and productivity. Unfortunately, when the organization is no longer a one-man show, it becomes very difficult to equip their team members with the same degree of motivation. This can negatively affect the organization’s morale, productivity, and possibly revenue.
Below are the four simple and effective ways to boost your team’s motivation as a startup:
1. Evaluate your own leadership as a leader
Many leaders had their own share of experience with bad leadership. Tim Denning, Addicted2Success contributor, also goes as far as saying, “working with a bad boss is a soul crushing dream killer.” No leaders want to be known as a bad leader. Unfortunately, some startup leaders unintentionally fall into the trap of micromanaging and never listening to the team members because they might not always have an experience as a leader.
If your team is big enough, you can also consider doing an anonymous survey that evaluates your leadership. But if that is not an option, there are tools that allow you to assess your own leadership performance. Go through the assessment, and focus on implementing the changes. Even if the team members’ motivation does not skyrocket overnight, there will be an improvement overtime.
“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” – Jim Rohn
2. Focus more on intrinsic motivation
A study of 200,000 U.S public sector employees by Yoon Jik Cho and James Perry showed that intrinsic motivation, rather than extrinsic motives such as position and salary, makes triple the impact on employee motivation and engagement. This study shows that motivating team members through position and salary is important, yet the biggest transformation will show when you get team members to focus on internal rewards.
For startups and teams with a limited budget, this represents a powerful way to be able to attract and retain the best team members. Though there will be some team members that might be disengaged because they are more motivated by position and salary, there will also be team members that may choose to stay in the organization because of the team’s culture– even if they get other job offers that might be more extrinsically appealing.
Challenge your team members with bigger responsibilities and goals. Encourage them to continue developing their skills or learn new ones. Show them you appreciate their loyalty. The internal rewards and the personal loyalty that your team members develop by working with your team will ensure that they can continue to stay engaged to the work and stay motivated to get the work done.
3. Be specific on HOW their work matters, and how much you care
Most leaders are aware of the importance of great team members and focus on recognizing the team’s efforts. However, when specificity as to how their work makes a difference in the team is added on, it can become extremely powerful. Team members want to know that the business cares about their work and jobs, but also about making a positive impact on the society.
Everytime you remind your team members about how their work makes a difference in the company’s growth, and how the organization makes a difference in the community, your team member will not only feel pride in their work, but they will also be fired up with an extra dose of motivation.
“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford
4. Encourage team members to become self leaders
An article by HR Digest shows that 25% of millennial team members are looking for a chance to prove their leadership skills. Although it is highly encouraged for startup leaders to challenge their team members and give them opportunities to showcase their leadership abilities, it can be risky if they do not have a previous leadership experience. That is when self leadership comes in.
Self leadership is a concept developed by Bryant and Kazan and is about having a clear individual identity as a leader. This can mean having a clear understanding of the vision, who they are as a leader and what their capabilities are as a leader. This helps your team members embody an identity of a good leader while developing their leadership skills.
There are many ways of empowering team members to develop self-leadership, such as encouraging them to take on new challenges or allowing them to partake in professional development activities. It can also mean giving them room to innovate and make their own decisions with their authority.
As the team gets bigger and the organization is no longer a one-man show, it can be challenging for leaders to keep their team members motivated. However, with these simple ways, it’ll be easier to equip your team members with the extra dose of motivation to continue doing their best and boost the team’s performance as a whole.
How do you keep your team motivated and excited? Share your ideas and thoughts below!
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Working alone at home might sound like a nightmare to some, but as a fully signed up introvert, working alone at home is an absolute dream. No energy-draining small talk, no noisy distractions, just peace and quiet to complete deep and focused work. Well not quite. Working alone at home has more challenges than you might expect. Boredom, lack of focus and lack of motivation to name a few.
When you start working for yourself, you quickly realise that one of the biggest problems you face isn’t the job itself. Maintaining your motivation poses a potentially huge difficulty. Much of that difficulty stems from working alone, rather than in a traditional office setting. There is also the challenge of staying focused on the task at hand. With no boss or supervisor looking over your shoulder, social media can distract or cat videos interrupt you.
But the greatest problem by far is a simple lack of motivation. There doesn’t seem to be a pressing need to finish this project right now, making it far too easy to put it off until later. Left unchecked, a lack of motivation can cripple the work you are trying to accomplish. Over the past few years I’ve developed a few go-to tactics to improve my lone working motivation.
Here are some of the tools I’ve used to stay motivated and on-task.
These first few tips focus on using different tweaks in your personal work schedule to provide some variety and maintain your focus.
1. Include short breaks
My eye doctor once told me that for every 20 minutes of staring at a computer screen, you should look away and focus on something across the room for 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a chance to reset. Do something similar with the rest of your body; don’t just look across the room, walk, jog, or run across the room. Give your body a break, and try to reset your thoughts. If you don’t have the discipline to take regular breaks, use an app to remind you.
2. Block out an afternoon for social activities and networking
Set aside one afternoon a week for your social life. Friday afternoon works best for me. If you feel guilty about not working, think of it as a chance to network. Either way, be sure to spend this section of time with other people. Socialise and network.
3. View your personal schedule as your work schedule
A 9-to-5 job requires getting up every morning, preparing for the day, leaving the house, and commuting to your workplace. In other words, it requires going to work. You want to recreate the same rhythm at home. You may not actually need to leave your house in order to work, but try to stick with the schedule. Filling the old job timeslot with your new work helps to keep you motivated – you can’t clock out early!
These next few tips are little things you can do to trick yourself into staying focused!
This tip may sound cliché, but try listening to an upbeat song loudly whenever you feel unmotivated. It’s a simple trick, but a surprisingly effective one!
2. Have somewhere else to work for a change of scenery
When procrastination sets in, sometimes a quick change of scenery is all you need. If you work at home, going to your favourite café can be a huge help. Other freelancers I know have even gone so far as to hire office space outside the home, and rotate between the two to help stay on-task.
3. Love what you do
This is arguably the most critical point on the whole list. If you don’t love what you do, it will be hard to keep yourself motivated – particularly long-term. Sure, you may be able to push on through sheer force of will for a while, but sooner or later you’ll lose motivation entirely. Do something you genuinely enjoy, and you’ll find it much easier to stick with it for the long haul.
These last few tips are Industry-related!
1. Make sure you have fun projects
Not all of your work projects will be fun, but fight to make at least a couple of them fun. These might even be personal side projects, not particularly related to your main job. Or they might be in the same general field, but not your specific focus.
2. Attend industry events a couple of times a year
Nearly every imaginable industry has an organising body of some kind. Find the local branch, and use it to keep tabs on industry-related events. Attend some seminars, network, and maybe even glean some new tips and tricks from industry insiders.
3. Schedule at least one call a week to learn something within your industry
View this as an opportunity for personal development. At least once a week, try to learn something new about your industry. For me, this might mean calling a new tool provider to demonstrate their gadgets. Whatever your industry, try to expand your horizons a little bit every week. You’ll learn new methods and make new connections at the same time.
These tips worked for me, hopefully, some of them will help you out as well. Above all, strive to enjoy what you do, stick to a “work schedule,” and look for opportunities for constant self-improvement. With those ideas in mind, you’ll find staying motivated much easier to do alone or in a group!
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