We all dream of a perfect, self-motivated team that is constantly advancing and embracing every challenge that comes their way. In fact, however much you want to encourage and motivate an even more active contribution from your team members, it is often easier said than done.
The use of external motivators, such as promotions or increases, is rarely a permanent solution to motivate your employees to do what is best for the company. Motivation simply can not be imposed on anyone, but it has to come from within, so it is extremely important to understand the unique sources of employee motivation. However, there are some solid ways for leaders to motivate themselves and encourage active participation in a team.
Here are five bulletproof ways to help your employees find motivation and stay motivated:
1. Communicate purpose
The purpose of communication is the first step to improve motivation and commitment within a team. As Simon Sinek advises in his bestselling book, if you want your team to act with a purpose, you must begin why. If your team is not aware of why you are doing what you are supposed to do, your work is less likely to be meaningful and less likely to be important to you.
This, however, does not mean that you are forced to have a motivational speech. In my opinion, the motivating comments are like throwing boiled spaghetti on the wall, it will not last long. Instead, to create a satisfying and motivating work environment, engage and encourage the members of your team to participate to clarify your vision. Be open to where you are going and what your driving force is.
Leaders who seek guidance and clarity are the ones who can really take their business to the next level, as well as helping their team members pursue their professional and personal hopes and dreams.
“The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.” – Reverend Theodore Hesburgh
2. Set clear goals.
One of the most common demotivating factors in a workplace is the lack of focus. If your team is constantly busy, but does not know very well with what, it could be a sign of confusion due to unclear objectives. Also, if your team has a constant low performance, you may want to review your goals.
Without specific and transparent objectives, your team may have difficulty knowing what to prioritize. This easily results in uncertainty, decreased motivation and a constant debate about whether they are working enough or not.
Clear objectives can help your team avoid unnecessary stress and make smarter decisions. To regain motivation, start by reviewing your objectives to make sure they are ambitious enough to be meaningful. However, do not make the mistake of stretching your workers too far out of your comfort zone, but try to find a good balance between these two.
A solid starting point is to define your “big common goal” toward which you work as a team. When you have defined it, it is much easier to start planning your trip there by setting smaller individual goals.
3. Encourage property
Sometimes, employees may feel they do not have enough power to make decisions. This could be a sign of too strict processes or the fact that you are micromanaging your employees.
To encourage your team to take ownership, set clear expectations and standards, but give them enough freedom to contribute their own ideas. Improve confidence by requesting comments to show that you really value your opinion.
Also, make sure that your team members are aware of how their contribution is linked to the big picture. When your team feels that what they are doing is important and they are contributing to something with real value, they are more likely to be responsible and proud of their work.
4. Make your team responsible
Responsibility is one of the aspects most ignored by leaders who want to create an effective and motivated team environment. In general, people are motivated by positive feedback and exceeding expectations. According to a study, almost 78% of employees are very committed when they experience strong recognition, which is why positive feedback is encouraged.
However, there should also be consequences when things do not go according to plan. Accountability becomes sustainable with constant reinforcement, so continuity is the key. Keeping your team responsible demonstrates that you care and help your team maintain quality.
“Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to the result.” – Bob Proctor
5. Support personal development and provide opportunities for growth.
One of the best ways to motivate your team is to encourage each individual to improve, finding ways to support their professional growth and encouraging personal leadership. In practice, this may mean, for example, training sessions, book clubs, mentors or other tactics that support personal leadership.
Adopt some personal development tactics as part of your goal setting process by aligning the individual KPIs with the objectives of your company. To obtain the best possible result, this must be done in a systematic way.
Another way to provide growth opportunities while linking to work is to launch a Growth Model, where different areas for improvement are first defined. Start by evaluating where your team is at each moment in each of the areas and plan the following steps according to your findings.
Choose one area of focus at a time, as well as clear action points and a timeline to improve that specific area. Make it tangible by tracking progress: this helps motivate your employees, as they can instantly see your level of improvement. If you want to motivate your team to the next level, find out what your personal and career-related goals are and try to think of ways you can help them achieve these goals.