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5 Bulletproof Ways Leaders Can Motivate Their Teams

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We all dream of a perfect, self-motivated team that is constantly putting their best foot forward and embracing each challenge they are given. In reality, as much as you’d like to encourage and motivate even more active contribution from your team members, it is often easier said than done.

Using external motivators, such as promotions or raises, is rarely a permanent solution for motivating your employees to do the very best for the company. Motivation simply cannot be forced on anyone but has to come from within, which is why it’s extremely important to understand the unique sources of employee motivation. There are, however, some solid ways for leaders to self-motivate and encourage active participation in a team.

Here are five bulletproof ways to help your employees find motivation and stay motivated:

1. Communicate purpose

Communicating purpose is the first step towards enhancing motivation and engagement within a team. Like Simon Sinek advises in his best-selling book, if you want your team to act with purpose, you should start with why. If your team isn’t aware of why they are doing what they’re supposed to do, they’re less likely to find their work meaningful and less likely to care.

This, however, doesn’t mean that you’re forced to have a motivational speech. In my opinion, motivational rants are like throwing boiled spaghetti on the wall – it’s not going to stick for long. Instead, to create a fulfilling and motivating work-environment, engage and encourage your team members to participate in clarifying your vision. Be open about where you’re heading and what’s your driving force.

Leaders who aim for providing direction and clarity, are the ones who are really able to take their businesses to the next level as well as to help their team members to pursue both their professional and personal hopes and dreams.

“The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.” – Reverend Theodore Hesburgh

2. Set clear goals

One of the most common de-motivating factors in a workplace is lack of focus. If you find your team constantly busy, but don’t quite know with what, it might be a sign of confusion due to unclear goals. Also, if your team is constantly underperforming, you might want to revisit your goals.

Without specific and transparent goals, your team may have a difficult time to know what to prioritize. This easily results in uncertainty, decreased motivation and a constant debate of whether they’re working enough or not.

Clear goals can help your team avoid unnecessary stress and make smarter decisions. To retrieve motivation, start by revisiting your goals to make sure they are ambitious enough to be meaningful. However, don’t make the mistake of stretching your workers too much outside of their comfort zone but aim for finding a good balance between these two.

A solid starting point is to define your “common grand goal” towards which you work as a team. When you have defined that, it’s much easier to start planning your journey there by setting smaller individual goals.

3. Encourage ownership

Sometimes, employees may feel they don’t have enough power to make decisions. This might be a sign of too strict processes or the fact that you’re micromanaging your employees.

To encourage your team to take ownership, set clear expectations and standards but give them enough freedom to come up with their own ideas. Enhance trust by asking for feedback to show that you really value their opinion.

Also, make sure your team members are aware of how their contribution links to the big picture. When your team feels that what they’re doing is important and they’re contributing to something with real value, they’re more likely to take ownership and be proud of their work.

4. Hold your team accountable

Accountability is one of the most overlooked aspects by leaders who want to create an effective and motivated team environment. In general, people are motivated by positive feedback and exceeding expectations. According to a study, nearly 78% of employees are highly engaged when they experience strong recognition, which is why positive feedback is encouraged.

However, there should also be consequences when things don’t go as planned. Accountability becomes sustainable with constant reinforcement, which is why continuity is the key. Holding your team accountable shows that you care and helps your team to maintain quality.

“Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to the result.” – Bob Proctor

5. Support self-development and provide opportunities for growth

One of the best ways to motivate your team is to encourage each individual to become better by finding ways to support their professional growth and encouraging personal leadership. In practice, this can mean for example training sessions, book clubs, mentoring or other tactics that support personal leadership.

Take a few self-development tactics as a part of your goal-setting process by aligning individual KPIs with your company goals. To get the best possible outcome, this should be done systematically.  

Another way to provide opportunities for growth while linking this with work is to launch a Growth Model, where you first define different areas of improvement. Start by evaluating where your team stands at the moment in each of the areas and plan the following steps according to your findings.

Choose one focus area at a time as well as clear action points and a timeline to improve that specific area. Make it tangible by keeping track of the progress – this helps motivating your employees as they can instantly see their level of improvement. If you want to take motivating your team to the next level, find out what their personal and career-related goals are and try to think of ways you can help them to pursue these goals.

How do you keep your team motivated? Comment below!

Julia Myllylä is a content marketer at Viima, a fast-growing innovation management software company that allows companies to harness the immense innovation potential their employees and customers possess. She contributes to The Viima Blog, which is the premiere destination when it comes to content related to leadership, innovation and culture.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Sheetal

    Nov 29, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    Thanks for sharing your great work
    Stay Blessed

  2. Biswajit

    Nov 18, 2018 at 3:18 am

    nice article thanks

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8 Things You Can Do Right Now to Get Your Motivation Back

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Welcome to our new normal. A time in our lives that a year ago we certainly didn’t see coming that most of us probably wouldn’t have chosen for ourselves; but here we are. As the days away from each other carry on and more and more bad news comes our way, it’s easy to lose your motivation and waste energy doing things that aren’t helpful like worrying and fighting with people on the internet instead.

Nearly half of Americans report the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental health, according to the Washington Post. While many of us had routines set up to deal with stress in the past, the stress we are facing during this time is unlike anything we’ve experienced before. It’s easy to find yourself in a downward spiral, and that’s the most challenging time to stop the momentum and turn things around. If that’s the case, keep it simple and start to reach for little things to help you feel better and climb your way out.

Here’s a reminder of a few simple things you can do right now to start getting positive momentum going your way:

1. Find someone who was in a similar place and made it to the other side

Whether you’ve been unmotivated to workout, eat healthy, make sales calls or simply do anything, you can find someone who has been there and made it to the other side. Look up some great TED talks, go on YouTube and look up people that motivate you, google them to find their websites. There are short speeches and much longer talks all over the internet, you just need to find someone who you relate to that speaks to you.

2. Do something that you love

When we’re unmotivated, it’s easy to get out of the habit of doing what we love. Sometimes just getting out of bed or away from the tv feels like a chore. Think back to a time in your life when you felt great – what were you doing? What do you absolutely love to do that if you had the time, you would do all day and not realize any time had passed at all? 

Figure out a way to do whatever that is, or a modified version of it if it is something that you aren’t able to do at the present time. Spending time doing what you love will get your mind off of anything that is wrong and allow you to find inspiration.

“If something is important enough, even if the odds are stacked against you, you should still do it.” – Elon Musk

3. Don’t overcomplicate it

Keep it simple. When we’re stuck in a rut, we’ll give ourselves every excuse to not do something. Say you’ve gained some weight; you might tell yourself you need to find the perfect trainer and wait until you have time to cook your meals from scratch each night before you do anything else. Stop trying to overcomplicate it and keep it simple by finding one thing you can do right now, however small that may be. You don’t have to wait until the timing is perfect and the stars align for you to start moving in the direction you want to go.  

4. Get up and get moving

This is probably the last thing you want to do right now, but once you are up and moving, your blood will start flowing. The hardest part is getting started. Day one, get up and do anything to get moving. This is the hardest day if you haven’t in a while because getting up is really the hardest part. Day two, do a little more. Once you start, you’ll build momentum and get back in the habit.

5. Reset your focus

It’s so easy for worry to set in and for our minds to wander to places of what we can’t control. This is not motivating or helpful and we always have a choice to redirect our attention. There is always something we can do right where we are, so bring your focus to the solution instead of the problem and figure out the next step of what you can do. 

One step at a time. Step one, take your attention away from what you can’t control and what you can’t do. Step two, ask yourself questions like “What can I do?” and see what comes to mind. Follow through with the answers you find.

6. Listen to your favorite music

Not much can lift our spirits and put us into a positive vibration more than our favorite music. Feel free to sing along. Find a song that pumps you up and make that your theme song. Put it on anytime you feel down or unmotivated.

7. Expand your knowledge

“In times of change, the learners will inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” Quote by Eric Hoffer. In times of change, there is great loss but also great opportunity. Continually learning opens you to new opportunities and leads you to paths you may not have otherwise found.  

“Work like there is someone working twenty four hours a day to take it away from you.” – Mark Cuban

8. Meditate

If you’re already a meditator and got away from it, take some time to come back to it. If you’ve never tried, it can be as easy as setting a timer for five minutes (or less, feel free to start with one or two minutes) and focusing on your breath. Listen to the inhalations and exhalations. Silently say to yourself “in” as you inhale and “out” as you exhale. Even taking a few minutes to do this can help you to calm down and allow your mind to refocus.

When we’re unmotivated, our momentum starts moving in the other direction. Slow down that momentum by trying one of the ideas above. Once you’ve slowed down the momentum, get it moving in the right direction and you’ll be well on your way.

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