Unless you have an entire team of self-starters, your management duties will include helping keep them motivated. We’ve identified several ways to inspire your team toward excellent performance.
Remember that your team is made up of individuals. A one-size-fits-all approach won’t work when it comes to motivation. So, you will need to get to know the members of the team on a personal level. Some may be totally self-motivated. Others may need a lot of hand-holding. Listen to them. They will tell you what they need from you as a manager.
Each will be motivated in different ways. Some may be driven by the need to achieve, so they will want recognition for the work they are doing. This can come in the form of praise and raises. Some want camaraderie. They like being a part of a team that really works together. Once you figure out the team dynamics, you can structure the environment accordingly. This could even affect the way you pay your team. You could base compensation on individual performance, group performance, or even a combination.
As a leader, members will look to you for guidance and clues on how you expect them to operate. Your actions help model team behavior. If you are respectful to them, they will tend to reciprocate. When you disappear for long lunches or slip off for a weekly round of golf, don’t be surprised when team members follow suit.
You hired the team members with the conviction that they could do their jobs competently. Communicate your high expectations for them. Don’t demotivate them by micromanaging from the sidelines. When team performance is high, make sure the members know it in a group setting. But the team is not performing well, don’t be afraid to hold the entire team accountable. Challenge them as a group, and ask questions about how the team’s execution could be improved. If one individual is affecting the team, let that team member know in private.
You may not have a team full of future leaders, but you should provide each an opportunity to test their abilities. Often the best future leaders come from inside your organization. They understand the culture. Push them to be excellent. Give them a chance to make decisions. Provide them with training that builds on their individual strengths, or helps them gain new skills. But don’t forget to have team-building activities as well to help grow the entire team, not just the members.
Being a leader can be hard work, particularly if your team is not excited and involved. Provide the team with opportunities to succeed and model the behavior you expect from them. Your personal leadership can mean the difference between mediocrity and greatness.