For any leaders, managers, and executives, motivating your team is a critical aspect of any team management to improve the performance of your team and the organization in general.
However, there are still a lot of leaders and managers, and even companies that fail to understand the importance of motivating your team. If a team member is stressed out, it’s simply unlikely for them to stay productive and efficient in executing their tasks.
A motivated team can lead to increased productivity, but motivating your team consistently, as we know, can be easier said than done. Yet, here are some actionable tips you can try right away to motivate your team ASAP.
1. Give Credits When It’s Due
This one is probably a cliché, but recognizing a job well done is definitely one of the most important ways in motivating your team members.
When you recognize and give praise to your team members, this effectively creates an emotional connection between the leader and team member, which is a very important aspect of employee engagement.
People simply crave recognition, and when they receive recognition, they will want more of it and will do a better job in the future in the hope that you will praise them again.
The best part? Recognition and appreciation are essentially free. Simply sending a thoughtful text message or an email can do the job, but if you can give more (including a well-deserved promotion), why not?
2. Embrace Virtual Meetings
We all know that meetings can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, a meeting with a clear agenda and objective can be really effective in improving the team’s productivity.
On the other hand, there are a lot of meetings that are simply ineffective which can waste a lot of your team members’ (and yours) valuable time. An ineffective 15-minute meeting can translate into a wasted valuable 15 minutes that your employees can instead use for a more valuable job.
In this era of digital tools, however, we no longer have to default to physical meetings. Nowadays, we also can conduct virtual meetings that can be a major timesaver for everyone as your team members wouldn’t need to move from their desks or even from their homes.
Screen sharing software like CallBridge can help you set up virtual meetings with ease where every team member can also share their screens for easier feedback and communications. You can also share a virtual brainstorming board with CallBridge instead of meeting for a team brainstorm.
In short, physical meetings shouldn’t be your default go-to communication options nowadays. If sending a project status report is enough, probably you don’t actually need those weekly team update meetings.
3. Create Low-Hanging Fruit Milestones
This is one of my favorite hacks in motivating my team. Set a milestone or goal that is just beyond a team member’s current ability.
These milestones will help motivate them to push just a little beyond their ‘limit’ and make that little breakthrough. The thing is, we all want to be successful and get better, but most of us simply can’t find the right direction how. As a team leader, your job is to give them this direction and a little nudge.
The key here is to find the right balance: the milestone or goal has to be significant enough so they (and the organization ) can feel real impact and progress, and yet attainable enough to maintain their morale and avoid stress.
If the milestone is too big, it might be counterproductive and cause them to stress instead. On the other hand, if it’s too small, it won’t give any value both for your organization and for themselves.
4. Define Your Objectives Strategically
This is still related to the above tip.
Your objectives are definitely one of the most important factors that can make or break your team’s motivation.
To do this, you must define your objectives carefully and make sure they are:
Clear and specific: everyone in your team and the stakeholders must be able to grasp the goals clearly. If not, rephrase it or consider a simpler goal.
Measurable: you should be able to assign KPIs and metrics to these objectives. This can also help in giving recognitions (after they’ve met the KPI) and for them to perceive that the objective is indeed attainable.
Attainable: again, if the goal is too big and ambitious, it might hurt their morale instead. Consider breaking bigger goals into smaller, more realistic milestones.
Another important factor is to communicate these goals. Even if your goal is already ideal, if you don’t communicate it clearly, your team might not find any value from it. We will discuss more on this in the next tip.
5. Communicate the Why
Communicate the why behind your directions. We all hate those bosses who bark their directions and tell us to follow it immediately just because “it’s important!”, or worse, “I told you so, so get.”
Instead, communicate the why.
If, for example, you are defining a quarterly goal of getting 20% more leads compared to last year. You can tell them something like “this is really important for us. If we can get just 20% more leads, we can confidently boost 10% in sales, meaning we might just all get that raise we deserve this year!”.
When you take the time to communicate and explain the reason behind your directions, you’ll get more committed team members.
An important thing when thinking about how you can motivate your employee is to remember that as a motivator, money isn’t actually the best. Instead, as a leader, we must understand the intrinsic desires of everyone in wanting to get better and be happier. If you can make them happier in the workplace, they’ll be more motivated. If you can make them perceive themselves as better people with better skills, they’ll be more motivated.