“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou
Great leaders know that motivation is the key to success. Motivation is all about inspiring people to want keep going. People only give their max effort to those who will value it the most. You have to find a way to show them that you are that person. Keep reading for 6 ways to motivate your team:
The best leaders take time to recognize accomplishments, improvements, and efforts that go above and beyond. Giving it your all, only to receive no acknowledgement, is demotivating. Some leaders make the mistake of justifying their inaction with sentiments like, “You should work hard, no matter who notices.” While most people do work hard, no matter the circumstance, a lack of acknowledgement can make employees feel that their efforts are intentionally being ignored. Resentment builds and before they know it, their hardest worker is now doing the bare minimum, out of spite. This can be avoided by being intentional about praise.
People are more intrinsically inclined to produce their best work when they feel they are valued and understood. A little empathy goes a long way. Whether employees are feeling under the weather, or facing personal tragedies, they will undoubtedly feel comforted knowing their leader is genuinely concerned. Putting yourself in their shoes gives you a different viewpoint and helps you respond from that perspective. It allows you to show patience instead of frustration, kindness instead of annoyance, and mercy instead of punishment. Empathy allows you to be more human than business minded and sometimes, that’s what chaotic situations require. Real people face real problems. Everyday won’t be ideal. Having a leader who understands and respects that makes all the difference in how employees feel overall about their job and leader.
Trust is motivating factor that is often overlooked in the business realm. When a leader extends her trust, it illustrates her confidence in her employees. Having a leader who knows that you are reliable and capable motivates you to do all that you can to continue to be trustworthy.
Trust at work can present itself in many different forms. Leaders should trust employees to:
- Problem solve without being micromanaged
- Share their thoughts
- Handle greater responsibility
- Be autonomous
- Choose how they work best
- Manage when they need time away from work
If your team has shown themselves to be worthy of trust, give it to them. They won’t let you down.
Most people are loyal to their company, regularly go beyond the call of duty, put in more hours than they have to, and take pride in their work. While gratefulness and words of affirmation are both necessary and appreciated, tangible gifts really drive the point home. It’s one thing to say you value strong work ethic; it’s another to prove it.
- Random days off
- Catered lunches
- Vacation packages
- Gift cards
Fact: Happy people are more effective. No one wants to wake up early, get dressed, and sit in traffic only to spend 8 hours in a place that they hate. The nature of the work may be serious, but that doesn’t mean that the office needs to be stuffy. Create an environment where stress is low, laughs are plenty and your staff actually wants to smile. Schedule team builders, leave the office occasionally, decorate, open some windows. Consider implementing spirit weeks and parties. Relax the dress code. Play games, sing karaoke, take dance breaks – be lighthearted.
In the same regard, make sure to have strict policies against things that cause bad feelings in the office. Bullying, sexual harassment, and workplace gossip should all have a zero tolerance policy.
Humans desire growth; it’s in our DNA. While familiarity is comfortable and change can be scary, most of us still set goals in pursuit of the next level. We desire challenge and celebrate our ability to conquer it. Even with the best pay, benefits, and leadership, an unchallenged employee will leave. As a respected leader, know that this is true and plan ahead. Encourage employees to continually pursue higher education and advanced certifications. Don’t frustrate your team by failing to provide new opportunities. Prove that you see the progress they’ve made and you have a vision for their potential. Give them new responsibilities that you think they’d do well with. Offer new roles and compensate accordingly.
As a leader, your job is to continually bring out the best of each member of your team. If you prioritize your employees and they will, in turn, prioritize the business. The 6 methods above will help you make motivation your mission.