You do not need books or psycho babble to work out how to motivate people. Start by thinking about the best boss you have ever worked for. What did the boss do to motivate you so well? Do you do the same things with your team?
In practice, most of us respond to some simple motivational measures. Here are my top ten:
- Show you care for each member of the team, and for their career. Invest time to understand their hopes, their fears and dreams. Casual time by the coffee machine, not a formal meeting in an office, is the best way to get to know your team members. Create training plans for each of your team members, 99% of your team want to do a better job
- Say thank you. We all crave recognition: we want to know that we are doing something worthwhile and we are doing it well. Make your praise real, for real achievement. And make it specific. Avoid the synthetic one minute manager praise (”gee, you typed that email really well…”). Put it in writing really works ( and a copy to your boss would be the icing!
- Never demean a team member. If you have any criticism, keep it private and make it constructive. Don’t scold your team members like school children: treat them as partners and work together to find a way forward. Discuss the issue, not the person and stick to facts. Praise in public, reprimand in private is the rule.
- Delegate well: delegate meaningful work, which will stretch and develop your team member. Yes, there is routine rubbish to be delegated, but delegate some of the interesting stuff as well. Be clear and consistent about your expectations.
- Have a clear vision. Show where your team is going and how each team member can help you all get there. Have a clear vision for each team member: know where they are going and how they can develop their careers.
- Trust your team. Do not micro manage them. Coach them in what needs doing - not how to do it. Have courage to implement MBWA: Management By Walking Away.
- Be honest. That means having difficult, but constructive, conversations with struggling team members. Your job is to set standards and help struggles achieve them. Don’t hide or shade the truth. Honesty builds trust and respect.
- Set clear expectations. Be very clear about promotion prospects, bonuses and the required outcome of each piece of work. Assume you will be misunderstood: people hear what they want to hear. So make it simple and repeat it often and be consistent.
- Overcommunicate. You have two ears and one mouth: use them in that proportion. Listen twice as much as you speak. Set up regular 1 2 1 meetings with each of your team, so that you can listen to them. Then you will find out what is really going, what drives your team members and you can act accordingly.
- Don’t try to be friends. It is more important to be respected than liked: trust endures where popularity is fickle and leads to weak compromises. If your team trusts and respects you, they will want to work for you.
What motivates your team?
So what do you think of our ways of motivating the team? What do you do to effectively ensure your team are a success? Please share your thoughts in the comments section as we learn just as much from you as you do from us.