May 20, 2017 at 9:43 am

Motivating your team, a leader’s guide

Motivating your team is a big part of being a leader. You could have the best resources in the world, the greatest business idea, or even the most outstanding team. However, if you do not keep morale and motivation up you may soon find that productivity, efficiency, and work quality may start to descend.

The first thing to understand about motivation, is that not everyone is motivated in the same way. Managers often assume that monetary reward is the only factor that motivates individuals, however, it is often non-monetary rewards such as vacation days, flexible hours, or even paternity leave.

It is important to get to know your employees, understand what exactly motivates them. Often, people don’t know what motivates them. By listening and getting to know your employees you can often understand what will motivate them, as well as begin to establish a good relationship.

Relationships, and your interaction with employees, is the key to motivation. They are also important when it comes to how comfortable employees are approaching you, and how they view you. There are some steps you can take to ensure that you encourage a positive interaction between managers and employees’, thus creating a motivational environment.

  1. Set clear goals

Goal-setting has been shown to directly link to task performance. This is because if you don’t set specific, measurable, attainable, clear goals your team can often find itself with a lack of direction. Understanding what they are working towards and communicating the vision of your company is key to motivating people.

  1. Empower People

Encourage an environment of communication. If employees feel empowered, like they are listened, valued, and given the chance to make decisions, they will feel like they have more control over their work.

An open line of communication can do more than increase motivation. Ensuring employees feel like they can raise issues with you may give you valuable insight into your company. Furthermore, empowering employees leads to idea generations, which can unlock innovation and creativity, boosting your team’s performance.

  1. Give the right support

Ensure your team has the right resources around them, this means the right training, development resources, and time to confirm their skills. The more confident your employees are in their skills, the better they will perform.

  1. Show Appreciation

Feeling appreciated is important to everyone. Invest time and energy in your team so that they know that you value their efforts and commitment to the company. If you recognise their worth, it shows you understand the value of your team. Which is more likely to be motivated if they feel like they are being recognised and appreciate it than if they feel as though they are taken for granted.

  1. Frame discussions in the positive

In his research on appreciative inquiry, David Cooperrider showed how the way a topic is framed — be it an issue, problem, or opportunity — can impact how companies and people respond to it. Under pressure, managers can often focus on the negative aspects of work and forget to frame the positive. Remember that with every challenge, there is a potential opportunity to be gained.

It is important to take the time to focus on building relationships, which is often easily facilitated  in companies where the team size is quite small. However, it is still important to take the time to create those relationships, consider some team-building exercises, and keep everyone engaged and feeling part of the team.

To encourage a team spirit, ensure you define, develop, articulate, and communicate a simple clear vision that is straightforward and in line with your goals. Company vision is directly related to culture, which have both been shown to affect employee satisfaction and motivation greatly.

Furthermore, you want to encourage regular feedback from employees. This is the perfect chance to test if you are encouraging open communication. How comfortable do your employees feel telling you about insecurities in the company? Feedback is an excellent way to identify if vision, goals, and expectations are being communicated clearly to your employees. Remember that, as a leader, motivation and company culture starts with you.

That being said, an open, receiving, and encouraging culture should not mean you lose focus. Make sure your goals stay consistent and in line with your vision. Be prepared to listen to feedback feedbacks and learn and try new ideas if you must. And finally, be clear with expectations.

Written by Max Lami, Merger & Acquisition consultant