How to motivate your team
Success in business is rarely down to technical skills or knowledge alone. Getting the most from your team is the sign of a successful manager and can lead to a successful business. The key to this is motivating people and giving them space to develop themselves to their full potential.
Being able to motivate your team successfully starts with wanting the best for people. If you care to find out about them and their needs and ambitions, you will find what motivates them. This will keep them performing at their best.
Motivation is open, positive and instils energy into your team. For instance, rather than commanding ‘Do this’, motivation entails showing why someone should do something and how they will benefit.
How can you motivate your team?
These are some suggestions for motivating your team:
- You have to be motivated yourself to motivate others.
- Motivation needs to be focused on clear, specific, realistic and achievable goals.
- Seeing progress towards those goals gives a sense of achievement and helps revive motivation.
- Motivation never lasts – there are always hurdles along the way that drain energy or distractions that take your eye off the ball.
- Everyone has different motivations – you just need to find what they are. They may well be different from yours and will give you useful insights into what drives people. Ask your people what they want from their job, and for the business as a whole. Also what do they want for themselves in life overall?
Your staff may say money is a motivator – but look closely and you will find that it is a stepping stone to another goal. For instance, a desire for power, recognition, early retirement or travel.
- A sense of belonging motivates – the smaller the group to which someone belongs, the stronger the loyalty, motivation and effort.
- Participation motivates – people feel more motivated when they feel their involvement in a project is important and valued. Often we exclude our greatest assets – the people around us, from decisions in which we could include them.
- Challenges motivate and people often rise to the occasion. However, it can also be demotivating if they are unobtainable, or conversely, too easy to achieve.
- Motivation needs recognition and reward – even something as simple as a thank you.
What causes demotivation?
- Constantly moving goalposts – people lose sight of goals, or feel they will never reach them and so cease to care about them anymore.
- Not knowing what is going on. If you do not bother to tell people what is happening, you can demotivate and possibly alienate them too. Uncertainty is a very destabilising emotion in a group.
- Not showing faith or trust in people.
- Arbitrary decisions which are not consistent for all members of staff, and humiliating people in front of their peers.
- Pay, work conditions or available facilities can affect motivation and often small changes can bring large differences.
Some signs of demotivation
- Increased absenteeism/sickness.
- Incomplete or careless work.
- Lack of concentration.
Before you can inspire others to extend themselves, you need to develop your own sense of motivation. Here are some tips to help you.
- Build your confidence and develop self-belief. Success doesn’t always go to the strongest person, but to the person with the greatest conviction.
- If you work alone, identify an understanding person with whom you can talk through business issues and who will encourage you. A mentor can help here.
- If you feel overwhelmed by a daunting task, such as sorting out your tax or personal finances, it tends to affect the rest of your attitude. There are three ways you could deal with a large task:
- Divide it up into smaller chunks and start immediately on the first chunk.
- Use an independent specialist who can relieve you of the anxiety of dealing with the task and will have more knowledge on the subject than yourself.
- Delegate the task to a member of your staff. Delegation can be a great motivator – but dumping an unwanted job on someone isn’t.
- Assess, plan, act. Write a plan for yourself for the next year, both in business and personal terms. Set tough, but realistic objectives with timescales. We all react positively to these.
- Also write down why you want to do something, even if the reasons hardly seem valid. Something as simple as ‘I want a clear desk so I don’t have to start the day in a mess’ is valid. Clean it up tonight and start tomorrow afresh.
- Use picture power or imagination to ‘fix’ your goals. Have you ever seen something in a shop window and longed for it? It is easier to visualise having something that you can see, so visualise the result you want. Savour the emotions you will feel when (not if) you land that order. Also, collect pictures that summarise these emotions – your dream house, boat, car or holiday – and pin these round your desk to remind yourself why you are doing it all.
- Tell people what you are going to do – it will make you feel more committed.
- Compile a record of past successes. When you feel you are achieving nothing, review your records to remind yourself what you have achieved!
- Finally – give yourself a pat on the back. You deserve it for having the strength of character to go out and make things happen.
We have a range of solutions guides covering all areas of business. You may find the following pages on our web site particularly relevant.