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.
You may even be one step closer to winning Manager of the Year! Thank you for reading!
A Step by Step Process That Will Help You Make the Impossible, Possible
We have all been there, looking at something and wishing we had it. The girl, the car, the money, the family, the lifestyle…but then we tell ourselves “Yeah, but that’s not me”. The people who get that are cut from a different cloth and we keep telling ourselves that until it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. We waste the wings we got believing the entire time that we can’t fly and that it’s impossible for us. We don’t even see our wings most of the time. (more…)
How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.
What is Motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.
Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).
Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.
However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals.
How to Get Motivated
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.
This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.
4 Ways to Make Starting Easier
1. Schedule it
One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it.
When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.
An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”
2. Measure something
It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.
3. Extrinsic motivation
This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.
4. Make it public
Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.
How to Stay Motivated Long Term
When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.
These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:
1. Stay in your goldilocks zone
The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.
For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging.
The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.
2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals
Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within.
For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.
3. Use “chunking”
Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.
Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.
For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.
4. Be flexible
We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.
5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion
Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.
This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.
Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.
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