One of the main ingredients of effective leadership is knowing how to inspire and motivate your people. That means it isn’t enough that you get them to do the work.
They should also share in your enthusiasm and fulfillment. This way, you foster a lasting, wholesome relationship that allows you to get everyone, not just you or your company, to the top.
by Carole Deck
⏱ 14 minutes reading time
🎧 Audio version available
Set the environment
Countless studies have proven that office environment has a direct impact on employee productivity. By environment, we mean the physical conditions of the workplace; like lighting, ventilation, ample office supplies, clean comfortable working spaces, to office perks like pantries, lounge areas, and more.
The more comfortable employees are while they’re working, the better they perform. But what if you’re only a team leader, not the company owner? How do you get these perks to your people? Well, you don’t need to be outrageous, just be sensitive to the environment.
Are there things that need fixing, like a flickering light or a malfunctioning photocopier? Respond immediately and get the maintenance department on it. Are pantry supplies getting low? Then, request from the supplies office.
These little acts will make your people feel cared for and they’d return the favor by performing as best as they can.
Make sure your people are fairly paid.
Money is a powerful motivator and a low-paying job is what causes many employees to leave their present companies and look for greener pastures.
If you want to hold on to good people who have been contributing to the team’s success, then you should be paying them what they deserve. The fair and ideal rule is employees get paid based on what they bring to the company.
So, if you see people in your team who have been performing extraordinarily, don’t shy away from giving them the promotion or raise they deserve. Evaluate your people and make fair decisions according to your evaluations.
Value their time and efforts
Some team leaders think they own the people in their team. They have this entitled thought that it’s okay to waste people’s time and efforts because the company is paying their hours anyway. That is so demotivating.
A leader who motivates would remove any form of oppression, even in the most remote sense of the word. It may sound exaggerated, but undervaluing your people’s time and effort is a huge negative in the language of motivation.
Don’t set useless long meetings. Don’t hand out additional tasks just because someone finished ahead of schedule. As a team leader, plan ahead and eliminate all unnecessary tasks before delegating work to your team members.
Everyone holds room for improvement. It’s your job to recognize that about your people. And to fill that room for improvement, you should create fair opportunities where they can learn new skills or enhance their current skillset.
One simple way to do this is by mentoring them. Share the things you learned and the experiences that helped you get to where you are. A leader who motivates doesn’t only lead the pack; they also pass down the significant knowledge and skills to the generation that follows.
A leader who motivates gives rewards where they are due. This also relates to valuing your peoples’ time and efforts. Rewards are great tools for motivation. That’s why companies give out bonuses, commissions, and gifts to employees.
Because the role of rewards in motivation is well proven. Rewards don’t even have to be monetary or lavish. You’d be surprised by how far a sincere compliment and “Good job!” can take you. If you have spare funds, you could also treat your staff at a good restaurant after a successful presentation.
Or maybe, arrange an all-expense-paid trip for them if you sense that they’re getting burnt out.
Give constructive feedback
If the team did well, it’s fair to reward them. But what if they performed poorly? Would it be fair to give them a dose of scolding?
A team leader who motivates will keep calm and give constructive feedback instead of reprimanding. Perhaps, it would be helpful to always remember that nothing good ever comes from a hothead. Raising your voice will do the opposite of motivating them.
You will lower their self-esteem and eventually, it will take a toll on their productivity. Discuss with them instead where they went wrong and advise what they should do next time to avoid repeating the mistakes.
Speak words of encouragement
You know in the movies when the team is about to get into battle and everyone was losing faith about winning, the leader would step up and give a speech to lift the team’s morale. Well, that should happen in real life too.
As a team leader, you should be your people’s beacon of hope at all times, especially during tough times. Motivation is something that must be cultivated. It can be challenging to sustain it. So, as a team leader, it’s your job to cheer your team on and keep your people motivated. You don’t have to be a great public speaker. If you know your people well, you’ll know what to say.
If you want motivation, encourage it in every way you can. As such, you have to build habits that reassure motivation and one of the best is encouraging collaboration in the workplace. How would working together add motivation to the group?
Well, at times, being motivated is not about receiving rewards and words of encouragement. Taking pride in their contributions to the team gets you motivated. When one participates and knows that they chipped in, they would feel a sense of fulfillment and thus, continue to be a contributor to the team’s success.
To foster collaboration, a team leader should be genuinely open and appreciative of their team’s ideas and opinions. And of course, regular team building is also a great help.
Set clear goals and strong visions
If you’re going to lead a team, you should know exactly where you’re going and how you plan to get there. How well you set your goals and visions can make or break your team’s success. Having vague goals will confuse your people, which in turn, lowers motivation.
The same is bound to happen if a team leader will have weak visions that keep changing. To keep the motivation high, your people should know and feel that they’re walking a path of certainty.
Lastly, in the face of adversary, a team leader must not lose face by blaming their people. This is the ultimate motivation killer. Nobody wants a leader who throws their team members to the wolves.
During these rough times, motivation in the team is surely at its lowest and if you will not stand up and take the responsibility into your own hands, then motivation drops to zero. As a result, you not only demotivated your people, you also lost their trust.
These 10 practices for building and sustaining motivation are a must for team leaders. Keep them in mind and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to bring a group of people together to the top.
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