Is motivation a challenge for you? Do you struggle to keep everyone inspired and excited about work? I know how tough this can be. I know how easy it is to feel like giving it up.
But, as the leader you MUST aim to keep your team motivated. If you don’t then who will? In my experience it will be the next team leader who will pick up that task and before you know it you are no longer the team leader!
Here are my top tips for motivating teams and individuals:
Think about what motivates YOU.
Whilst we are all individuals, when it comes to something like motivation you can be pretty sure that if something drives you then it is likely to be a motivator to others. This seems so obvious but so often you will see a leader abandoning everything that they know about what would motivate them, and instead expect their team to have completely different needs.
sBe clear about purpose. WHY are you all there?
Your first thought might be ‘for the money’. In actual fact that is only a factor and so long as people are being paid fairly, and what they expected, then it’s a small part.
Purpose is about your ‘why’. Why do you and your team do what you do?
Are you all clear about that? Have you agreed that is why you are there?
Know what your goals are.
These may be weekly, monthly or annual goals and may vary for individuals. Unless people understand what they are aiming for, how will they know when they get there? Make sure all of your team members have some individual responsibilities so that they can take ownership and be accountable. This makes people feel good and helps them to see where their accomplishments fit into the overall success.
Recognition is vital. This includes everything from a ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ to formal recognition of performance and skills development.
Recognise the small things and celebrate the big things. Be consistent! If you are not then you could be perceived as favouring individuals.
Celebrate success meaningfully. Bringing in cakes every Friday regardless of what went well or badly becomes stale really quickly. Look out for little things you can do personalise your recognition.
Be grateful for the support you get from your team – even when it doesn’t always happen in the way you would like.
Trust has to be built. Your team needs to know they can trust you and vice versa.
Involve the team in decisions which effect them all and be prepared to trust that someone other than you might know best.
Let others take the lead in their areas of strength. This will show that you trust in them and aid their development.
Be open and transparent.
Help your team to see the bigger picture. Be honest without betraying confidences. If you can’t do something, explain why not and tell your team what is possible.
Remember that we are all individuals.
Get to know your team members. Gain an understanding of what their personal goals are. What are the benefits, from their perspective, of being a part of the team?
Then help them to achieve their goals. Do things which speak to their individual needs.
There is really only so much a person can do within their working hours. If you expect more than is possible, everyone gives up because they can see they will never hit the success sweet spot.
Why would we try at all, if we know from the outset that we will fail?
Perfectionism gets in the way of excellence.
If you say you are going to do something then you must follow through. Nothing disillusions a team quicker than fake promises.
And make sure you feedback: either collectively, or to an individual as appropriate. They need to know what you have done and what the outcomes have been, or should be, as a result of your actions.
Human beings are complex and lead complex lives. What works for us one day might not be the same the next.
Outside of work we all have lots going on.
It is unrealistic to expect personal lives not to impact at work to some extent. Be caring, compassionate and empathetic. Next time you are having a bad day you will want your team to care about you. Be sure to have evidenced that this is important in everything you do.
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