Eight Ways to Motivate Your Team
Employee Management Articles
Submit Articles Back to Articles
It's the eternal conundrum! How do leaders
motivate their teams to perform at higher levels and how do they maintain higher
levels of morale? It always amazes me when leaders point the finger at their
people and speak of them as if they are "the problem" or an entity unto
themselves responsible for all failings within the department. It is the
courageous and successful leader who looks first in the mirror and asks him or
herself such necessary, but very powerful questions as:
- What have I done in the past that worked?
- What's going on with me right now and am I bringing
enthusiasm to the workplace?
- Am I being realistic in my expectations and have I
communicated them to my team?
Here's a fact. A team's performance is a direct
reflection of its leadership. Ouch!
Think about itů.people within a team will only perform to the level that they
see rewarded or to the level brought to the table by their leader. In my
training seminars to management leaders, I often challenge them to look first at
their own strengths, weaknesses and management styles - before they look at
problems they are facing with their people.
Many leaders are placed into their positions with little or
no training dooming them to certain failure. Most employees make the assumption
that leaders already know how to manage personalities and motivate people. There
is the assumption that somehow along with the title, the new leader is magically
bestowed with the gifts of management and team motivation skills. This couldn't
be further from the truth! People skills are just that - specialized skills that
are developed through training, application and experience.
I am not saying that we absolve the employees of all
responsibility. Let's face it, in a highly functioning team environment there
exists a high level of accountability all the way around. What I am saying is
that we as leaders should be willing to look at ourselves and be accountable for
what we have control over.
Here are 8 things you can do to motivate your team:
1. Look in the mirror. Are you waking up
with enthusiasm and excitement about your work? Have you set goals for yourself
and your team? Or are you just punching a time clock like the rest of them and
its all you can do to not fall asleep with boredom or scream out loud with
frustration. What do you need to become more excited and enthused? If you are
not excited and energetic, it is not fair to expect your team to bring the same
to the table.
2. Take a retreat. Step away from the work
environment for a day or if possible, two. Go to a 2-day management seminar or
retreat and re-fuel, re-group and re-energize so that you can bring a fresh
attitude and approach back to your team. Many leaders are suffering burnout and
are not able apply creative solutions. Signs of burnout are: lethargy, apathy
and negativity - just to name a few.
3. Take a pulse. Do an assessment of your
team dynamics. List all of your team members on a piece of paper and beside each
person's name indicate the level of performance you feel they are currently at,
what you feel they are capable of and identify where the gap in performance
exists. Then think about how you have approached this person in the past with
regard to performance improvement and what you can do differently this time to
have them hear you in a new and different way.
4. Tell them what you want. Have a team
meeting and tell your team that you want to brainstorm ideas on how to create
higher levels of motivation and morale. Be willing to hear all ideas and as a
group have them prioritize the ideas and then delegate the action items. Be
willing to do something yourself to show your commitment to the goal of higher
motivation and morale.
5. Do a 360. It is a brave leader who
willingingly has his/her teams assess them as leaders. The 360 degree
performance evaluation system does just that. It allows employees to evaluate
their leaders and to provide sound feedback on how their leader can improve.
Tell your team you want their opinions and input on how you can be a better
leader. Be open and willing to hear the good with the bad and sometimes the
ugly. Then do something with the feedback- communicate back to your team what
you are going to do as a result of the feedback.
6. Coach regularly. Statistics show that
leaders who have a coaching plan in place for their employees have less
absenteeism, higher productivity and overall higher morale. It makes sense
doesn't it? Spend quality one-on-one time with your employees on a regular and
rotating basis and they begin to perform at higher levels due to ongoing
personal attention and validation. Coaching prevents bad behavior and negative
attention methods by employees.
7. Praise in public- criticize in private.
There is nothing that replaces pure praise. Employees surveyed stated that they
value recognition above pay raises by their leaders. We often undervalue the
power of praise and we may even feel that if they are doing a good job they
should know that we think they are great. Some leaders feel that giving praise
all the time is hard work and that employees requiring it are high maintenance.
The rules of giving effective praise are: praise specific behaviors or results,
be sincere, make it timely when the event happens and when possible make it
8. Be a psychologist. Adapt to the different
personalities of your team. You already know your people to a high degree and
yet we tend to overlook the unique emotional needs of each individual. Treat
them as they want to be treated and be willing to see things from their
perspective. Openly communicate and be willing to share yourself with your team.
You can't be everyone's friend, however you can be accessible, open and
trustworthy. Teams who have an understanding and compassionate leader tend to be
more loyal and can weather ongoing change at higher levels.
Often we feel that we just need to throw money or perks
towards our teams to keep them happy. This is an erroneous belief and it has
been found that truly what people want is to have open communication,
straightforward and direct leadership and an easygoing environment to work
within. Sounds good doesn't it?
The rewards of leadership are many and we can have greater
satisfaction, less stress and a sense of accomplishment when we look at what we
can do to improve our team's performance and happiness on the job.
About the Author
Cheryl Cran, CSP President of Synthesis at Work Inc. works with organizations
in significantly increasing productivity and profitability through communication
strategies that improve employee performance, leverage team synergy and build
extraordinary leaders. Many of Synthesis at Work's clients are award winning
industry leaders. www.cherylcran.com
Follow us @Scopulus_News
Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2007-08-23 00:26:40 in Employee Articles