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10 Steps to Team Motivation

Fenia Mantzari Openbet

ARTICLE SUMMARY

You have a great team that delivers projects with good quality and according to the timelines. As a Leader or Manager, how can you ensure that your team will keep being motivated and productive?

Of course, money and benefits are really important, but they aren’t the only motivating factors. In this article, I explore some of the most important ways to maintain a high level of motivation throughout your team.

1. RECOGNIZING CONTRIBUTIONS

Saying thank you is a simple yet powerful way to recognize and appreciate the contributions of others.

It acknowledges efforts, shows that their work is valued, and encourages them to continue making positive contributions. Taking the time to express gratitude can have a profound impact on people’s motivation, morale, and overall well-being.

A simple thank you can go a long way in strengthening relationships and creating a positive and supportive environment. It creates a positive and inclusive working culture, where people feel acknowledged and motivated to continue their good work, leading to increased collaboration, and productivity.

Simple compliments can fuel our motivation to keep going.

For example, my Line Manager makes me feel really important and boosts my confidence and sense of significance when he says: “Enjoy your break, it’s well deserved!”.

2. LEAD BY EXAMPLE

Demonstrate the behaviors and qualities you expect from your team members. Rather than adopting a “Do as I say, not as I do” approach, emphasize the importance of leading by example. It’s about being a role model and demonstrating through your actions how you expect others to act and perform.

When your team respects you and knows that you have their best interests at heart, they will be more open to your suggestions and guidance, and they will follow you. Your suggestions and feedback will carry more weight, and team members will be motivated to implement them because they respect their Leader.

If you show dedication, commitment, and a strong work ethic in your own tasks and responsibilities, demonstrate initiative, and go the extra mile when needed, then it’s likely your team will be inspired to match your level of effort and dedication.

It’s really important to take ownership of your decisions, admit when you make mistakes and learn from them. Holding yourself accountable sets a standard for accountability within the team, thus motivating others to take responsibility for their own work.

Demonstrate open and honest communication and encourage your team members to do the same. This fosters a culture of transparency and trust.

For example, if as a Leader you really value open communication, then you should create a safe space where everyone feels comfortable expressing their ideas; even if they differ from your own. By actively listening to your team’s ideas and considering different perspectives, you demonstrate the value you place on open communication.

3. KEEP AN EYE ON LOW MORALE

Early symptoms include a rise in absenteeism, poor performance from top employees or increased conflict between team members.

High-performing employees who start to exhibit a decline in their performance might be experiencing low morale. They may feel undervalued, unchallenged, or lacking opportunities for growth, leading to a drop in their productivity and engagement.

If individuals who were once consistently delivering exceptional results start displaying a decline in their work quality or productivity, it may be due to a drop in motivation, burnout, or other factors that are negatively impacting their performance.

Low morale can also lead to tension and increased conflicts among team members. If you notice a rise in interpersonal conflicts, frequent disagreements, or a sudden lack of collaboration, and a disconnection between team members, it could be a sign of low morale affecting their relationships and overall motivation.

4. PROMOTE TEAMWORK AND FOSTER COLLABORATION

When employees work as a true team, rather than as separate individuals, everyone is more productive. Teams hold each other accountable but also help when someone is overwhelmed or absent. Think about this when hiring new staff by considering how they will add to the team and the company culture.

For example, an uncooperative team member can create a toxic atmosphere within the team and other team members may become demotivated and disengaged. Addressing and managing negative behavior is essential to preserving a positive team spirit, maintaining productivity, and nurturing a motivated team.

5. HAVE FUN WITH THE TEAM

Having fun with your team fosters a positive and engaging working environment. When team members enjoy their time together, it can boost morale, strengthen relationships, and enhance overall productivity.

Encourage a positive and inclusive atmosphere where humor and laughter are welcomed.

Foster an environment where team members feel comfortable sharing jokes, funny stories, or humorous experiences. This light-heartedness can help alleviate stress and create a more enjoyable work environment.

For example, team events and catch-ups create moment of joy and relieves stress.

Organized team events like team lunches, Christmas, and summer parties are a great way to share moments with your colleagues interact with them and discuss about non-work-related things.

Moreover, if you team is located in different countries, then virtual social catchups where you can just chat and share your hobbies, vacation plans, music and film preferences can help the team members connect to each other and even find shared interests.

6. REMIND EMPLOYEES TO TAKE REGULAR BREAKS TO RECHARGE AND SET A GOOD EXAMPLE BY DOING SO YOURSELF

By reminding your team to recharge, you demonstrate that you value their health and work-life balance. So, after a stressful period or the delivery of a critical project, let them recharge. Explain to your team that breaks help maintain energy levels and prevent burnout, ultimately enhancing productivity.

For example, you could prioritize calendar-scheduled short breaks during each day. By such implementations, you are promoting a work environment which values the team members’ wellbeing.

Its important that your team can take breaks without feeling guilty, which will eventually lead to improved focus and efficiency when they return to their tasks.

7. TRUST YOUR TEAM & GIVE EMPLOYEES OWNERSHIP, AND THE SPACE THEY NEED TO THRIVE

Motivating a team means giving them total ownership of their tasks. Never micromanage your team. When you trust your team members, you demonstrate confidence in their abilities and judgment. This empowers them to take ownership of their work and make decisions.

While giving employees autonomy, it’s important to provide support and guidance when needed. Be available to answer questions, offer advice, and provide constructive feedback.

For example, when you assign a specific task to team members, instead of micromanaging them, provide them with the needed resources and support and let them take ownership of their work. Always, aim to give your team members the freedom to approach their task in their own way, as much as possible. In this way, you enable your team to take responsibility and grow professionally by contributing to the team’s or company’s goals.

8. AVOID TOO MANY MEETINGS

If team members are constantly in meetings, they’re more likely to feel disconnected from their regular assignments because they don’t get enough uninterrupted time to concentrate on set tasks. Before you call a meeting, make sure it’s really needed. It’s equally important to set an agenda and include this on the calendar invite ahead of time.

Help your team members to maintain their focus on their core responsibilities while minimizing unnecessary disruptions. Avoid inviting unnecessary attendees who may not contribute or benefit from the meeting.

9. CHALLENGE YOUR TEAM AND DEVELOP THEIR SOFT SKILLS

By challenging your team and actively working on developing their soft skills, you keep them motivated and engaged. You can assign projects that are out of an individual’s comfort zone, to encourage them to learn by their mistakes when the risk is low. To ensure the success of your team, it is crucial to establish realistic expectations and provide them with the necessary support.

10. INTRODUCE A NEW PROCESS IN A POSITIVE WAY

It’s important to approach the introduction of a new process with empathy and openness because change can be met with varying reactions.

Start by explaining the purpose behind the new process and how it aligns with the team’s goals. Highlight the benefits it brings, such as increased efficiency, improved quality, or enhanced collaboration. It’s important to make sure that the team understands the reasoning behind it. This helps create a sense of importance and urgency around the change. Foster a culture of continuous improvement by encouraging team members to provide feedback on the new process.

For example, using phrases like “I am solely responsible for this change/process, and it’s my decision” may not be motivating for your colleagues. By framing the change in a positive light and involving the team throughout the process, you can create a sense of enthusiasm and engagement that helps the new process become a success.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that “Employees don’t leave companies — they leave managers“.

This phrase shows that the quality of the manager-employee relationship significantly impacts an employee’s decision to remain committed to their job or seek opportunities elsewhere.

A Leader/Manager who actively listens to team concerns, and issues, and makes necessary adjustments creates a working environment where the team feels valued and supported.

Through active collaboration with their team, leaders/managers ensure that the team stays connected, and motivated and that each member brings their best self to work. Moreover, by valuing diverse perspectives, leaders set the foundation for innovation and enable their team to reach its full potential.

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