There are days when enthusiasm and inspiration seem elusive. How do you get that drive back to motivate your team and become even more productive? Here are five tips collected from a variety of motivational-business books that can help inspire, strengthen work relations and boost overall morale.
1. Respect. As an employee, it is all about being acknowledged, so the simplest “good morning” to your employees will make a positive impact. Show that you care by asking questions and really listen to what people have to say. Theodore Roosevelt once said the best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it. If you follow that approach, your team will thank you.
2. Feedback: Employees must feel as if they matter and that their work makes a difference. People are more likely to care if they feel they contribute to the company and that their efforts do not go unnoticed, so acknowledge when someone has done something great. Also, when something goes south, constructive criticism is the best approach to take. Hounding someone for a mistake they have made is not very helpful for future work. Employees need to understand what they did wrong and how they can improve.
3. Communication: The lack of sufficient information can kill good work and motivation. If something is unclear, people tend to speculate. Uncertainties can breed fear (Am I about to lose my job? Did my boss like my work? Does he think I am management material?), which can lead to an unnecessary drop in productivity. Make sure everyone is in the loop and encourage your staff to initiate face-to-face meetings if they have questions or concerns about anything.
4. Development. Almost everyone wants to learn new things, grow as people, advance, and have more of a say. Are they able to in your company? Education is never a wasted effort, especially when it is considered a business expense (tax write-off!), so encourage your team to take classes and courses, attend seminars and conferences, or simply pick up books that relate to your professional field. Also, as Gandhi put it: Be the change you want to see in the world by reflecting the vision, mission and culture of your company. Lead the way; if you are constantly working toward improving yourself and your business, your staff will take note and hopefully feel inspired enough to take steps toward advancement, whether it is personal or professional.
5. Trust: Do you know each and every one of your employees’ strengths? Do you know how you could channel those talents to increase productivity? If the answer is no, you probably need a little help, either from a mentor or someone who can give you good advice and a different perspective. Meanwhile, focus on doing team-building activities. Nothing makes a team stronger than spending a day out of the office, shooting paintball at each other.
For additional help with motivation, check out these recently released titles:
Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead by Charlene Li
The Why of Work: How Great Leaders Build Abundant Organizations That Win by David Ulrich, Wendy Ulrich and Marshall Goldsmith
Leading in the Top Team: The CXO Challenge by Preston Bottger