A motivated team helps improve business productivity, quality, and customer service. It also helps create an empowered environment that promotes change and focus. These steps can help re-motivate a current team or be kept in mind before a team is created.
A key first step in deciding how to better motivate a team is to create a clear picture of the personalities on the team. Assessing a team can include questionnaires or surveys, having informal meetings, and team brainstorm sessions. This helps identify different team member’s motivators, personality types, and working styles. Some of the most common types of motivators include career development, gaining knowledge, family balance, status or prestige, and workplace recognition. Personality type tests can help show team member’s preferred communication styles, collaboration styles, and even if they are an introvert and an extrovert. Team leaders can take this information and better understand how to speak to and communicate with that employee as well as how to better motivate them. One team member may prefer a quiet thank you for their hard work while another would prefer a certificate presented at the weekly meeting. These clues into team member’s personalities can help the team become more cohesive.
After a team assessment, oftentimes there is a request to improve communication or to implement a wider variety of communication types. Usually, the request for more communication involves a higher quantity of information as well as company information that provides more insight and transparency to the employees. This could include sharing more financial information and potential future goals or providing an update on upcoming deals or sales. Included in this communication should be the knowledge that the employee’s teamwork is having a positive impact on the business and that the work they are completing is valued. One on one meetings among team members can help alleviate communication concerns as well as more impromptu, relaxed meetings as compared to scheduled conference room presentations. Team communication to the manager or team lead should be encouraged to help increase motivation. Team members need to feel that not only is their hard work appreciated but that their input is desired as well. This will help foster better team collaboration naturally.
Mix Up the Routine
Many teams feel that they are lacking motivation because they have fallen into a rut. These team members will lack energy and excitement for new projects. They will be disinterested in new projects and if they have been working long hours, even burned out. Team leaders should try and recognize the signs of a bored, unmotivated team before the effects are noticed in their performance. There are many ways to help change up the routine including changing people’s responsibilities regularly, taking turns leading team meetings to hear other team member’s insights, and having group meetings for creative idea pitching. If the team is very overworked and overstressed, a team day out of the office at a restaurant, picnic, or other fun, relaxing events may be the perfect way to start re-energizing them and recreating a fun environment to work in.
Recognize and Celebrate Accomplishments
In teams with competitive members and high workloads, professional recognition is essential to help avoid employee burnout or disengagement. Many employees are motivated by their search for success and validation from their managers. Points systems that reward high performers are an excellent way to display a team’s progress and achievements. Another simple way to improve team recognition is to always remember birthdays and work anniversaries with small events or a thoughtful gift. Employees appreciate the recognition and thoughtfulness represented through these actions. Many managers forget to appreciate all the hard work that has been done in the past and instead focus solely on the next step into the future. Reflection is necessary for growth and team members will feel encouraged when a manager remembers their hard work from months before.
Eradicating a Fear of Failure
As mentioned briefly before, open communication is vital to a successful, happy, and motivated team. It is wise to take that communication one step further and consciously work to harbor an environment without fear of failure for team members. Motivated and positive teams are grounded in the idea that people make mistakes. It is a fact of life and a true fact at work. With new teams, there should be some coaching involved in preparation for if a mistake occurs and how the team will handle it. Team members should not be frightened or worried about retribution in admitting that a mistake occurred. A good manager can handle honest mistakes and work towards a solution without dwelling on the past. Encouraging a team member to try again and keep working towards improvement will keep that member engaged and committed to the team instead of embarrassed and reluctant to take risks.
A goal setting and defining meeting is a wonderful way to remind team members of the end goal in their work. Employees can often become frustrated with the small, difficult projects that occur day to day and if the bigger picture is not represented well, team members become disinterested in working towards that end goal. It should be make clear what the priorities are in a daily fashion as well as in a larger sense, like the timeline for a project to be completed. It will do no good for team members to be unaware of the urgency of the project and then feel resentful when they are asked to speed things up. The more independent team members would especially take offense to micromanagement. If clear goals are set and reminded often, the team ca all move forward through their different goals to complete the project to its’ best potential.
Teams function best when all members understand their roles, priorities, goals, and the impact that their work does. Everyone should feel important and able to speak their mind. Respect for everyone’s ideas and roles should be ingrained into the team, as well as the understanding that mistakes will occur and that the team is strong enough to withstand that as long as they work together. A team’s hardwork should be recognized, whether that is at a staff meeting or an evening after work drinks event. Team bonding should be encouraged as well as collaboration between the different team members to complete goals. Clear goal setting will foster feelings of transparency and involvement in the team’s purpose and ensure that the team is kept on track. Overall, different teams will require a variety of different methods to increase and maintain motivation. Team leaders can help determine their unique team’s needs by taking the time to truly get to know their team members and realizing what they require from a manager to succeed in their role.