Thanks to the likes of David Brent, it’s easy to see team motivation as excruciating at worst and slightly cringey at best. But if you’re in charge of a group of people then it’s your responsibility to commit time and effort to ensure they’re happy and productive. So the question is – how can you get the best from a team of people without channelling your inner Brent? We look at five different aspects of team motivation, which should deliver results without the cringe factor:
Work on Relationships
A good dynamic amongst colleagues – no matter where they are in the pecking order – can often lie in the appreciation that, when it comes down to it, they’re all just people. By taking your team out of the office and away from their allocated roles you can allow them to develop more well-rounded impressions of each other.
Social relationships are a great motivator; not only do they enhance trust within the team, but also willingness to go the extra mile for fellow team mates. Let’s look at a specific example: One of your team is feeling slightly off-color one day and is considering calling in sick. However, they know that by doing that they will be forcing the rest of the team to work much harder to cover their work. Strong inter-colleague relationships would encourage them to knuckle down, head into work and avoid letting the team down.
A slightly separate point is your relationship with your team as their leader. Naturally this will have to be different but should still be based on openness. Providing constructive feedback on a regular basis and asking for feedback on yourself in return should help you keep the lines of communication open.
Share the Vision
One of the real keys to motivation tends to be clarity. By explaining your organization’s objectives, the rationale behind them and the role your team will be playing, you’ll find it far easier to obtain their support and enthusiasm. Sharing information about strategy can help to enhance a team’s feeling that they’re trusted by the company and give them a really positive sense of responsibility for the company’s success or failure.
A good way to think of this is to consider what the alternative would be; “don’t ask questions, just do what you’re told”. Your goal should be to demonstrate that your team’s targets have real worth.
Choose the Carrot Over the Stick
Once you’ve shared the vision for what your team needs to achieve and broken it down into manageable goals, you may feel the need to be clear about what happens if those goals are or aren’t met. Setting targets can make some people nervous, since they suspect that failing to meet them could result in redundancy.
The key here is to focus on the positives; of how you’ll get things done to achieve success. Threats of corrective action, or of people losing their positions could seem like a good way to motivate people but it will result in a poor working atmosphere and battered morale. Instead of threatening with negatives you should try to motivate with positives…
Striking the Right Balance with Rewards
Targets are great in the workplace, but they can often feel a little arbitrary if meeting those targets does not result in a reward of some sort. So, monthly commercial targets could perhaps come with the incentive of £100 behind the bar at your local, and annual commercial targets could come with the sweetener of an away day for the whole team. The beauty of both of these is that they can be enjoyed by the whole team, while working to enhance team bonding (see Work on Relationships).
The one thing to be aware of when it comes to rewards is to ensure your team recognize that they shouldn’t expect them as a matter of course. For example, don’t get caught in the trap of doing things like promising to buy boxes of doughnuts if everyone arrives at work on time. A reward should be an added extra, because at the end of the day your whole team receive salaries in return for the work they do and this should not be taken for granted.
Once you’ve helped the team to build relationships, shared strategy and set goals and rewards for reaching them don’t rest on your laurels. As well as using team-wide rewards to help everyone get things done, it’s important to recognize the efforts of individuals. Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon.” We’re not suggesting handing out ribbons exactly, but publicly-awarded tokens of appreciation can give team members an incredible boost.
The key word here is ‘public’. A muttered “thanks for staying late” in the lift will be quickly shrugged off and leave a team-member feeling unappreciated in the long run. Instead consider creating a ‘Hall of Fame’ board, where extra efforts can be recognized. Making it common knowledge that exemplary team members will be recompensed for going above and beyond the call of duty should ensure all members of the team are willing to go the extra mile.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.com