Wednesday, June 10, 2020

10 Ways to Motivate Your Team


While the saying “You can’t motivate anyone, they have to motivate themselves” may be true from a psychological perspective, people are more likely to motivate themselves when a manager creates a motivating workplace environment. Employees give 110 percent because they want to work hard, not because they have to. 

Leaders must understand that in today’s new workplace, there does not exist a single recipe to motivate employees. Rather, it’s about how to maximize the ingredients in order to create hundreds of recipes that are customized and authentic; that provide long-term engagement. To get you started, here are ten ways to motivate your team.

1. Follow the platinum rule. 
The Golden Rule (treat others as you want to be treated) has a fatal flaw: it assumes that all people want to be treated the same way. It ignores the fact that people are motivated by vastly different things. One person loves public recognition, while another loathes being the center of attention. The Platinum Rule (treat others as they want to be treated) corrects that flaw. Good managers are great at reading other people, and they adjust their behavior and style accordingly.

2. Be strong without being harsh. 
Strength is an important quality in a leader. People will wait to see if a leader is strong before they decide to follow his or her lead or not. People need courage in their leaders. They need someone who can make difficult decisions and watch over the good of the group. They need a leader who will stay the course when things get tough. People are far more likely to show strength themselves when their leader does the same. A lot of leaders mistake domineering, controlling, and otherwise harsh behavior for strength. They think that taking control and pushing people around will somehow inspire a loyal following. Strength isn’t something you can force on people; it’s something you earn by demonstrating it time and again in the face of adversity. Only then will people trust that they should follow you.

3. Remember that communication is a two-way street. 
Many managers think that they’re great communicators, not realizing that they’re only communicating in one direction. Some pride themselves on being approachable and easily accessible, yet they don’t really hear the ideas that people share with them. Some managers don’t set goals or provide context for the things they ask people to do, and others never offer feedback, leaving people wondering if they’re more likely to get promoted or fired.

4. Be a role model, not a preacher. 
Great leaders inspire trust and admiration through their actions, not just their words. Many leaders say that integrity is important to them, but great leaders walk their talk by demonstrating integrity every day. Harping on people all day long about the behavior you want to see has a tiny fraction of the impact you achieve by demonstrating that behavior yourself.

5. Be transparent. 
Good managers are transparent and forthcoming about company goals, expectations, and plans. When managers try to sugarcoat, mask, or euphemize in order to make things seem better than they are, employees see right through it.

6. Be humble. 
Few things kill motivation as quickly as a boss’s arrogance. Great bosses don’t act as though they’re better than you, because they don’t think that they’re better than you. Rather than being a source of prestige, they see their leadership position as bringing them additional accountability for serving those who follow them.

7. Take a genuine interest in employees’ work-life balance. 
Nothing burns good employees out quite like overworking them. It’s so tempting to work your best people hard that managers frequently fall into this trap. Overworking good employees is perplexing to them; it makes them feel as if they’re being punished for their great performance. Overworking employees is also counterproductive. New research from Stanford shows that productivity per hour declines sharply when the work week exceeds 50 hours, and productivity drops off so much after 55 hours that you don’t get anything out of the extra work.

8. Recognize great work.
Who in your team goes the extra mile, consistently performs above expectations, or behaves in a way that reflects your company values? From those that make time to help new joiners settle in, to those that never miss a deadline, make time to let employees know how much you appreciate their effort. Try to recognize attitude as well as performance; an employee with a fantastic work ethic and a positive outlook can do just as much for team morale and motivation as someone consistently hitting their targets, so show them how much they are valued. A simple ‘thank you’ or ‘well done’ can do the trick if you haven’t got a formal recognition scheme in place – it’s just important to show recognition in a timely, consistent and meaningful way.

9. Offer career progression.
Most employees will want the opportunity to progress in their roles, and if there is a lack of progression available, they’re likely to lose motivation and will eventually look for a new job. Let employees know that there’s a career path for them within the company, and encourage them to get involved in additional projects where possible, to take on more responsibility and gain new skills. Try to provide training – whether on-the-job or external, and discuss any promotion opportunities they can work towards. Find out their career goals and how you can support their development; it shows you’re invested in them and value their contribution.

10. Build trust as a leader.
People respect others that they can trust: if your team members don’t trust you, you’ll have difficulty motivating them. Gaining trust requires time and transparency; a good leader is open, honest and shows respect for their whole team. Employees who know they can trust their manager will feel comfortable approaching them if they have any issues or feel unmotivated. It’s far better that they discuss their issues with you rather than look for a new job elsewhere.

Motivating your employees can never be overvalued. Make sure it’s at the top of your agenda. When you show an interest in motivating your employees, your employees will show an increased interest in working for you.


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