So much of our lives are spent working and, of course, you can pull together a good team if you offer very high salaries, but what you’ll find over the long term is that there are other ways to motivate your team, beyond the dollars and cents. These motivators are often quoted as being more important than money in deciding whether or not to remain in a position.
1. Praise your team
Praise them as a group, praise them
individually, but always be generous with your kudos. A pat on the back might
seem trite and silly compared to an extra $5k, but on exit interviews with many
major corporations, a lack of praise is often mentioned as a motivation for
People need to feel like their contributions
to the team matter and you can’t assume that your good feelings about them come
through on the paycheck. Your team needs to hear from you, collectively and one
on one, to know that they are valued.
How you praise them will be different from person
to person: one might prefer a bonus; another might prefer some extra time off.
Even just taking the time to sit down with a cup of coffee, phones on mute, to
tell them that they’re doing a great job can be a huge bonus for an employee
who has been giving it their all.
2. Don’t take advantage of the hard workers
It can be tempting, in a project crunch, to
set your sights on the team member who is naturally adept at getting things
done, but you could be inadvertently overworking them at best, and at worst,
taking advantage of them unfairly.
Unless you plan to give them a new title, with
new responsibilities and more pay, you can’t keep looking to a small subset of
individuals. They will quickly realize that their effectiveness in their role
is also their downfall and there’s no faster way to lose motivation than to
realize that you are being taken for granted. Ask any married person who does
all the housework while holding down a job too!
3. Remember that no one is essential
I don’t mean that you shouldn’t value your
team members because you can replace them. It’s never easy to replace a
productive, valuable team member. But you also can’t hold onto them because
you’re afraid you won’t be able to replace them. While someone new might not
have quite the same skill set, that doesn’t mean that they won’t eventually
rise to the task you set for them. Don’t stand in the way of a good employee
moving onwards and upwards: it won’t work in the long run, and in the short
term, it can do a lot of damage to their motivation.
Instead, be supportive of their goals and
remind yourself that no one, not even you, are essential. It’s the best way to
stay grounded and focused.
4. Skip the fear tactics
Sure, people work hard when they’re worried
about losing their job, but they don’t work well. Nobody can function for long
in an environment where they are afraid for their future, or even afraid of
being berated publicly.
Inasmuch as no one is essential, people should never be made to feel disposable, as if what they do doesn’t matter. If mistakes are made, deal with the individual privately and with generosity and in the spirit of learning. Instead of feeling like their job is at stake, they’ll feel like you’ve got their back and want to help them gain the right footing. When it comes to motivating your team, choosing the right styles can make all the difference in how they feel about working better, harder and more conscientiously.
A good leader is someone for whom others want
to work, want to do their best for, and want to create something with. If your
team doesn’t feel that way about you, it’s says more about you than it does
about them, so find ways to motivate them so that they are happy. You will be
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