Heading up a team is stressful. At times, keeping yourself motivated can be a challenge.
Couple that with your obligation as Manager/Team leader to ensure colleagues remain enthusiastic and you’ll be forgiven for feeling like you have a real task on your hands. But, you wouldn’t be in this position if you didn’t like a challenge, right?
A sense of accomplishment, respect and recognition, have all been cited as key drivers for boosting motivation. Interestingly, money rarely appears above fifth place.
Considering this, we’ve suggested these seven steps to keeping your team motivated:
1. Keep it clean
Not your language – but depending on the situation, that could be wise too. We’re talking about the working environment.
The negative impact a cluttered office has on productivity can be surprising, with workers feeling sluggish and lazy. Encourage a tidy desk policy, but provide draws for employees to keep files and trinkets in.
Where possible, let in as much natural light as possible and keep the office as open plan as you can, try not to shoehorn colleagues into corners.
Organisation doesn’t have to end in the office either. Train your team to keep on top of to-do lists, store information in a communal place, and inspire an inbox zero mentality by implementing archiving tools.
2. Set goals
This applies to all spectrums of the work place – from companywide, to those of an individual.
As mentioned, a sense of accomplishment is a significant driver, so tailor training plans to your employees – developing the skills they want to enhance and sign off the plan yourself. Set a realistic timeline, explain how you will help them achieve this, and allow them to dedicate some – you may need to be strict here – work time towards accomplishing it.
Wider company goals need to be clear too, to give the team direction, as well as keep you motivated and able to benchmark progress. Let your team input, and use ‘chunking’ to break major goals into manageable chunks; as above, plot tasks onto a timeline or roadmap and, most importantly, allow for flexibility. If a goal isn’t reached – fine, reassess and shift as needed.
3. Reward hard work
It’s not all about the money (although we’re sure employees won’t dispute a bonus or profit share!). Rewards come in various forms, from monetary to promotions.
On a smaller scale, start by identifying when an employee has accomplished a goal and reward them by announcing this to the company. The recognition will motivate them to keep working at a productive pace, as well as create some friendly competition within the team; reducing procrastination.
Promotions are a great driver too; the combination of a new title and/or responsibilities, plus – most likely – an accompanying pay rise, is a great way to inspire individuals and the whole team to stay pumped.
“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.” – Vince Lombardi
4. Be open
Communication is crucial and it’s easy for managers to fall into a secrecy trap – often unintentionally – due to fear of overloading employees.
Think of your team as a family; the more knowledge they have on the company’s progress –including any negative results – the better equipped they are to deal with it and work together to improve.
Give regular updates on performance. These could be via weekly emails or monthly team meetings, just ensure everyone is in the loop.
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw
Whether its tools or training, listen to employees when they express needs and act on what you can.
Budget restraints may limit what you can implement, but if a new online tool could noticeably increase productivity, or a training session could help an individual to meet their personal KPIs, consider introducing it. Anything that aids efficiency in the team’s day-to-day will keep motivation levels and business performance high.
Remember to recognise and reward the individual who suggested the new process.
6. Conquer poor performance
Potentially the toughest step, but you know business isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. If a member isn’t performing, you need to act to avoid the mood spreading like wildlife.
An immediate firing is rarely necessary; sometimes all it takes is a light nudge in the right direction. Try the steps suggested in the B.E.S.T method:
- Begin with the situation.
- Express the result.
- State the desired changes.
- Tell them the consequence.
Last, but definitely not least, socialise with your team. It’s fair to be concerned about blurring the lines between personal and professional – and caution should, of course, be exercised – but colleagues will often feel more comfortable if you make an effort to get to know them.
The occasional team lunch or evening drinks should be encouraged and, if you want to step it up, consider regular team building days.
Keeping your team motivated is crucial to the success of your business, as well as your position. By considering the motivation drivers – respect, accomplishment and recognition – you’re on your way to ensuring a pumped and productive team.