• Team Building
April 24, 2016

Do This Not That: How to Motivate Your Team

Remember how it felt when you had a manager who walked in the room, and suddenly, no one could breathe? The manager’s bad attitude permeated the entire atmosphere and sucked all of the joy out of being at work.

Yeah. Don’t be that guy.

Below, we’ll discuss top tips for motivating your team so that you can increase productivity and job satisfaction. Let’s get started.

Here’s a helpful guide that you can print out and refer back to when you need to motivate your team!

+Develop Them

Invest in your team.

It’s a simple directive, but it’s so hard to put into practice.

A lot of people approach leadership with the wrong perspective. Folks mistakenly turn leadership into self-promotion when it’s anything but. You’re a leader because you have a remarkable flame of talent burning within you, and you must use that flame to ignite others.

In practical terms, this means use your skillset to spark, develop, and inspire each team member.

You can do it.

You’ll do it by giving them opportunities to advance within the company. Be quick to cross train your team so that each one stretches, and strengthens his or her skills.

+Welcome Their Opinions

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Image Courtesy of MrAngryDog, DeviantArt

Are you the type of boss who doesn’t entertain any questions or accept any suggestions?

If so, you’ve probably earned the reputation of being a close-minded boss who’s stuck in his ways. But, that’s not the only downside. Your actions can also demoralize your team.

When a team cannot confidently approach their leader with input, opinions, or respectful questions, it creates a negative atmosphere. The team feels valueless, as if their opinions don’t matter because, quite frankly, they don’t. You’re going to do things the way you want, no matter the consequences.

But there are consequences, in the form of resignation letters or the quiet type of resignation where the team member doesn’t quit, but they don’t engage, either. They’re just pulling in the pay check.

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Image Courtesy of Imgur

The remedy is to consciously ask for input from others. Of course you have the final word, but that doesn’t mean you have to lead off with that sentiment. Instead, remind yourself how you can learn from others. It’s in the sharing of ideas that we evolve and grow as community, and the same is true with your team dynamic.

+Get Clear With Your Goals

A murky destination makes it difficult to understand what to do. Instead of dispensing a small amount of information at a time (we’ll get into micromanaging below), give your team the big picture so they know where you’re headed.

Also, keep them informed along the way. Just knowing where one is in relation to the goal can serve as motivation to push further.

+Lead By Example

You’ve heard it many times before, but the old adage is true. You’ve got to show them how it’s done. And you do that by coming to work on time, and leaving on a productive note. That means you shouldn’t just take off carelessly whenever you want to go golfing. Your team members are watching.

Even if they can’t do anything about it, your lack of dedication to your job will definitely increase a sense of apathy in your team.

+Encourage Them Privately

Set up individual meetings to gauge how your team members feel and actively look for opportunities to help them. Your meeting should always produce an action plan for success. There’s always some way you can help your team member evolve.

+Praise Them Publicly

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Image Courtesy of Imgur

You may praise your team members individually or privately, but you should also praise your team publicly to anyone who will listen. Your public accolades will build team pride. This sense of pride will push your team to do their best, even without you lording over them. It’s like magic.

+Celebrate Them With Rewards

Words are lovely and necessary, but actions add even more depth to your sentiment. Show the team your appreciation by rewarding them with simple gifts and gestures.

For example, give your team the afternoon off at the end of a particularly grueling project. This can alleviate burnout and reassure your team that you recognized their hard work. It can also motivate them to work just as hard (if not harder) for the next project.

+Motivate Yourself

I mentioned earlier that one of the best ways to motivate your team is by example. That also extends to your mindset. If you’re burned out, perpetually exhausted, and hate Sunday nights because you can’t bare to face Monday mornings– your team will feel the same way, if not now, eventually. It’s up to you to be the beacon of hope for your team.

If you can shift your perspective and re-energize yourself to face your job with vim and vigor (subscribing to our weekly blog is a good start), your enthusiasm will rub off on your team.

-Don’t Underpay Them

There’s no need to be shy. We’ll all adults here. Money is a powerful motivator.

Whether you’re hiring a new team member or it’s time for raise, you shouldn’t clutch the money bags and only dole out a few measly pennies. If you have a good employee, pay them accordingly, or else watch them as they leave for better opportunities.

Workers these days aren’t like our parents’ generation. They won’t stick it out for loyalty’s sake and they couldn’t care less about stability. They’ll motivated by innovation, new opportunities, and of course the bottom dollar.

If you don’t pay people what they’re worth, they may stick around with you temporarily while they search for new opportunities. Not ideal.

-Don’t Micromanage Them

Nothing is quite as demoralizing as having a manager over your shoulder, silently (or maybe not so silently) judging you.

If you want a strong, confident, self-motivated team, give them space. Don’t breathe down their neck. This is known as micromanagement, and it will undermine your team.

The most successful teams are powered by individuals who take ownership for the project. When you micromanage your team, you rob them of their sense of responsibility by doing everything for them. They don’t even need to think because you’ll do that for them, too.

I recently pinned a post on this very topic. Check out Are You Condescending? Here’s How to Figure It Out to gauge whether or not you’re micromanaging your team.

-Don’t Overload Them With Too Much Work

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Image Courtesy of Memes.com

Ask yourself what resources are necessary to complete your task. There are financial resources, but then there are human resources.

Are you trying to do too much with too few? It may be time to consider hiring more people for your team.

If you’re not sure about hiring a new team member full time, consider hiring for a temporary, limited engagement with the possibility for full time. This will give you the opportunity to see if this new position is a good fit for your team, and if a new hand on deck boosts your team’s productivity enough to justify the cost.

Final Thoughts

Use the above tips to motivate your team members. Remember to subscribe to this blog so that you can motivate yourself, too.

Need a little bit of additional help when it comes to motivating your team? Grab this free guide!

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Teresa Wallace
President, Agility Leadership Coaching
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