Congrats, you’re the leader of a team. You’d like to think you can achieve some pretty amazing things with them because, well, you’re a terrific leader. Of course theory is one thing, practice something else. What will set you apart from other team leaders is how you bring out the best in your team and motivate them to reach the targets you set.
You can’t expect to blindly lead and believe everyone else will follow, so what can you do to inspire each team member to buy into your vision with enthusiasm and total commitment?
“You know, as most entrepreneurs do, that a company is only as good as its people. The hard part is actually building the team that will embody your company culture and propel you forward.”      Kathryn Minshew, CEO & Co-Founder, The Muse
Here are 11 ways you can motivate your team:
1. Lead by example
If you want to inspire your team then the best way is to set an example by showing you are prepared to put in the hours like everyone else. If you turn up late or finish early, take long lunches, etc., don’t be surprised if your team takes its cue from you and does likewise. Remember, you are part of the team too.
2. Earn their respect
If you want to earn respect then show your team you respect them too. Show you are not afraid to admit your own mistakes, and that you have a strong work ethic. Show you support them even if they stumble along the way.
3. Be accessible
Don’t close the door to your team. Ensure you are the kind of leader who is always there to listen to their concerns. Perhaps all they need is a sounding board to come up with their own solution to a problem. They need to know you will be there for them, and that means being accessible whenever the need arises. Whatever the reason, if they feel you aren’t concerned about their needs they will not engage fully with the team.
4. Grow your team
Encourage team members who show they can think outside the box, deliver results on time or consistently meet their targets. Encourage those who may be finding it harder to meet their targets. Perhaps a few gentle words of encouragement are all that is needed. They may lack the confidence others have, but you can help them to be more productive by asking them how you can help. Inspire them by encouragement.
5. Know your team
Make it your business to learn more than what’s on your team members’ CVs. Engage with them and discover what lies behind the person, their interests and families. Stop by for conversations that can help build winning relationships.
6. Have some fun
Work shouldn’t always be about just that. If your office has a pool table or games room, chill out for 30 minutes some day with the team. It’s a great way for you and them to relax, and will reap dividends.
7. Pizza Friday please
Here at Teamwork.com, Pizza Friday (burritos sometimes) is a day when we signal the end of the week with a treat delivered to our door. We sit around eating and getting to know one another a little better. It’s a simple idea that works very well.
8. Praise openly, criticize privately
Who doesn’t like to hear a word of praise every now and then? It’s lovely to hear positive words for a job well done, or a task accomplished. Yet some team leaders are far more vocal when it comes to criticizing people openly, rather than doing so more diplomatically and constructively in private. Take the time to say ‘thanks’, or ‘good work’, in front of the team so others can aspire to hear the same acknowledgment when they achieve targets.
9. I’ll drink to that
Celebrating a success with your team may call for something more than just a simple ‘thanks’. Going for a drink after work is one way of achieving the same result, toasting a job well done.
10. Listen and empathize
Leadership coach Christine Riordan, said in an article for Harvard Business Review, that , “To be able to motivate and inspire others, you need to learn how to listen in both individual meetings and at the group level.” The leader who doesn’t listen to team members won’t get the maximum from them. By giving them your undivided attention you will discover their needs, and persuade them that you’re just the kind of leader who can excel. It also demonstrates that you care about them. Empathize. At one-on-one meetings listen carefully to what team members have to say.
11. Communicate clearly
When setting out team goals ensure everyone has clarity on the vision. Explain the plan in detail, taking questions so that there is no doubt. Hold regular team meetings and don’t surprise your team with unexpected announcements. Always keep them informed and you’ll build trust.
Takeaway
Congrats, your team is highly motivated! Remember: a team that is highly engaged will perform better and achieve more. A happy team is more productive, so make sure you are doing everything to make it work.
So, how do you motivate your team?