Motivating your team is a crucial skill for any leader at any level.  It depends on your ability to get on with other people, build relationships, develop others and, quite often, to see the best in people.  It is based on your ability to see the reward needed for the effort you require from your team members.  To recognise the small things that matter to your people.

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Motivating Your Team: Heroes and Zeroes

It is interesting to look back through our career and think about the managers we have experienced.  Most of us will have experienced great managers who valued our skills and always wanted to hear our thoughts on problem solving, efficiency and customer services.  We felt like warriors in those jobs.  Ready to give every ounce of our blood, sweat and tears to serve our customers.  And to serve that person who took time and care to make us feel great.  These are our motivational heroes.

Most of us have also experienced managers who can only be described as ‘toxic’, our motivational zeroes.  Their only concern seemed to be to keep team members in their place.  They want great people in their team but then seem to fear the competence, skills and experience they have just hired.  In these jobs, we felt constantly under siege, never knowing where the next offensive was coming from.  Our efforts to perform our way to being valued bore little fruit.  The results of our hard work was to feel undervalued.  So, we focused on survival and staying out of trouble.  We conserved our energies for our escape plans.

Which type of manager do you want to be?  Which manager’s example do you want to follow when motivating your team?

Fortunately, we can learn from the behaviours of our motivational heroes.

Motivating Your Team: 7 Things Engaging Leaders Do

  1. Build relationships – engaging leaders know that the relationship they build is the foundation of engagement and performance in their team. So, they focus a lot of effort on building positive relationships in the team.
  1. Understand each team member – the key to building relationships is to understand each team member. The engaging leader develops an understanding of each person’s drivers, motivations and ambitions.  The aim is to provide targeted support that is of value to each team member.
  1. Always know what the reward is – the engaging leader understands that every team member has a different perception of ‘reward’ from each project, task and work itself. So, s/he keeps an eye on what the reward is for each person and helps deliver it.
  1. Explain the standard – highly motivated employees want to excel. The engaging leader knows this and understands that employees need a clear picture of the standard by which they will be measured.  The engaging leader understands this gives the motivated employee a target to exceed.
  1. Build trust – trust is the cornerstone of a successful relationship. Team members who feel trusted also feel empowered to take ownership of their job and pride in the quality of their work.  They also look for ways to do their job better and more efficiently.
  1. Involve and challenge – the engaging leader understands that motivation can be maintained through constant involvement of all team members in the work of the team and decisions around it. S/he also understands that challenge is crucial – challenge team members’ skills with stretch projects while encouraging them to positively challenge how work is done and seek improvements.
  1. Give feedback – the engaging leader understands that regular feedback is a key component in keeping team members motivated and performing. They will want to know progress towards the standard they mean to exceed.  They will also want to know how to improve so a balance between positive and constructive feedback is important.

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