Motivating a team is one of the most important things that a leader can do. Without guidance, employees can flail and suffer, unsure of what to do next and how to succeed to their highest potential.
While it is true that no one can truly motivate anyone (true gumption has to come from within), a good leader can do a tremendous amount to influence people and encourage their motivation and success.
Complacency—the enemy of a successful team
Part of keeping your team motivated and excited about always improving is also ensuring that they don’t become complacent. We all know the type: arrive to work in a daze, clock in, and then sit at their desk doing the bare minimum to get by. Then, they leave as early as possible, never really committing to their career path, and worst of all—detract from, rather than add to, the success of the team. If these types are already satisfied with what they have, it can become increasingly difficult to engage them and motivate them to success.
Why do good people become complacent?
Sometimes even the best workers can become complacent over time. Feeling happy and fulfilled in their career, some individuals can fall into the habit of quiet complacency, never pushing themselves and ceasing to go that ‘extra mile’ for their boss or their client. They do this without realizing that their co-workers and manager may be fostering a slowly simmering resentment toward their blasé attitude.
Are competitions really motivating your team?
Many managers decide to motivate their teams by setting up competitions and monetary incentives intended to encourage everyone to get back on board and do their very best. Team spirit! While these types of incentives can be a temporary measure that appears to work at first, money is not always the answer. Sometimes the very best motivating factors are interpersonal relationships—caring for the success of the team is an excellent way to boost morale and performance.
Focus on relationships with your team
We all know what it feels like to be managed skillfully versus being managed poorly. If you are in management, know that trying to intimidate your employees into respecting you will not work. A Drill Sargent won’t gain their employees’ respect. Instead of barking orders, counteract complacency by celebrating goals and accomplishments. Make a big deal out of it when they make a huge sale or land a new client! By warmly and regularly congratulating your team when they do well (and working on building them up when they are struggling) you will reach goals you have never dreamed of.
Nip negativity: get rid of cancerous employees
Negative employees, or CAVE dwellers (Consistently Against Virtually Everything) are a cancer in your organization. They will bring you down and destroy the morale of your other employees. Sometimes you can work with these individuals in order to get them back on track, but sometimes they just have to go. Conversely, you may have a great employee who just isn’t getting the job done, consistently underperforming and bringing the team down. Don’t be too quick to dismiss these people—they may simply be in the wrong position in your company. Sit down and ask them, “If I had a magic wand, what position would you like to have in this company?” By listening to your employee you will learn how to better manage them and bring your entire team to success.
Laugh and play with your team!
Most importantly, you have to remember that we are all social beings. Saying thank you and laughing with your team can go much further toward a harmonious and successful business environment than any competition can. Spend time together, enjoy their company, and listen to what they have to say—these are the steps to managing your team with poise, enjoyment, and skill.
See Meryl Snow at CSES2016
Meryl Snow will be speaking at CSES2016 in Las Vegas, NV, March 13–16, 2016. Registration is open! Go to conference.catersource.com for more information!