Tips for Motivation
How Not to Motivate
In the next section we will discuss multiple tips for motivating your teams. These can be viewed as “motivational techniques” that help maximise the productivity of your team, however, they may backfire if incorrectly applied. It is important to remember that motivation is not something you do to people; rather people choose to be motivated. As a leader, all you can do is shape the conditions under which your team will work. The choice to go the extra mile remains theirs. Bear this in mind while reading the next section and don’t read it as a simple tick-off list. You must be sincere in your actions and avoid half-hearted attempts such as drive-by praise.
Tips for Motivation
Your aim is to create a supportive environment that facilitates your team to achieve their optimal performance and encourages them to give their best. Richard Branson summed it up well when he said: “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to”. Here are eleven tips for improving motivation on your team.
Share Your Vision
Set Clearly Defined Goals
Empower Your Team
- Share Your Vision
- Ensure your team know what they are working towards and explain what is expected from them along the way. Show them how their work fits in with the larger goals of your organisation and show them what the priorities are. Teams that are aligned with a purpose will feel valued and have a strong sense of belonging.
- Set Clearly Defined Goals
- Use goals as a means to frame your vision and track progress. Ensure goals are clear and measurable with a specified timeframe. They should detail what you want to achieve, not how you want to achieve it.
- Empower Your Team
- Help your team feel heard by seeking their input and keeping an open mind to their ideas. Provide them autonomy by giving them choices and letting them choose the direction of their work through their own actions. Freedom and flexibility help create a self-motivating culture with an expanding capacity for work.
Challenge Your Team
- Challenge Your Team
- Encourage your team to take on new projects and responsibilities outside of their usual roles. Challenges should be manageable, but also stretch them. Offer support where needed. Challenging your team will push individuals to new levels of performance as they build skills and experience. It also demonstrates your faith in them and keeps them engaged.
- Personal Development
- Provide opportunities for development and offer training courses to help your team enhance their skills and continue learning. Consider improving transferable skills that can be used in different settings or domain specific knowledge for technical roles. Opportunities should be tailored to the individual as you support them in their personal aspirations.
- Recognise Achievement
- Show your appreciation and help your team feel valued by offering in-person thanks. This helps your team acknowledge the progress they are making, while recognising their commitment and efforts shows them that their work really does matter. You may also use praise to show how respect can be earned. Recognition can be delivered to a team (not just individuals) and this encourages teamwork toward their collective goals. Here are a few thoughts on praise:
- Ask how a task was accomplished.
- “Tell me about your work?”
- “What problems did you solve?”
- “What are you proud of in your solution?”
- Show them how their contribution affected the broader goals of the organisation.
- “These are the organisational benefits of your work…”
- Acknowledge the cost to their personal life.
- “Thank you for staying late last Friday, I know you missed your son’s football match.”
Healthy Working Environment
Know Your Team
- Healthy Working Environment
- A comfortable and clean workspace equipped with all the necessary tools creates a nice space in which your team will want to spend their time. Help your team achieve a good work-life balance by offering flexible schedules and the ability to juggle non-work commitments. Set the overall tone of the workplace by applying the other tips in this post.
- Treat each team member as an individual and tailor your approach to their needs. Rewards and recognition should be consistent across the board. Take care not to develop favourites.
- Know Your Team
- Get to know your team at a personal level. Take time to ask about their hobbies and interests. Show you have their best interests at heart. The better you know them, the easier it is to identify what motivates them.
- Foster Collaboration
- Encourage your team to work together as a cohesive unit. Hold regular team-building exercises and provide opportunities for your team to get to know one another. Try to remedy any feelings of isolation and encourage participation from everyone to foster a team spirit.
- Effective Communication
- Ensure there is a two-way street of communication with a constant flow in both directions. Keep your team up-to-date and listen to their opinions and feedback. Ensure you are available to contact, be approachable toward their ideas and implement the good suggestions. Effective communication reduces confusion, prevents errors and leads to a motivated team.