Motivation – Top tips on getting the best from your team

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Motivation – Top tips on getting the best from your team

I often get asked about motivating teams and how to get the best from people. Over th years I have experimented with many different tools, strategies and methods to get my teams working to the very best abilities. Motivation is the key here.

Once you have satisfied a team member’s basic needs, (a salary that is enough to pay for basic food, shelter, and health care) then you need to go up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and satisfy their need for security, belonging, self-esteem and self-fulfilment.

If you create the right environment, the team will effectively motivate themselves.

Some people find filing a relaxing task, while others just seem to want to get it over with as quickly as possible. Each member has different needs when it comes to self-motivation. Looking at the short-term, they may be motivated by a number of different factors such as

  • Being able to go home earlier
  • Getting a task done and out of the way
  • The satisfaction of completing a task
  • The prospect of praise for a job done well
  • Wanting a reputation for always delivering on time

Long-term motivation means you want your team to deliver consistently over time. Short-term motivation requires they have enough enthusiasm and energy to tackle the next project.

Long-term motivating factors tend to be more general and more abstract such as

  • Security
  • Money
  • Status
  • Recognition
  • Responsibility
  • Job satisfaction
  • Challenge

Key motivating factors:

  • The more your team members understand about their jobs, the reason for them and their value to the whole organization, the more they will be motivated to perform well.
  • Always set clear and achievable targets
  • Reward and celebrate achievements
  • Involve people in everything that’s going on

Good leadership guide:

  • When someone makes a mistake, don’t criticize him/her outright. Sit the person down and talk about the circumstances and how it happened, and maybe how it can be avoided in the future. Nobody does bad work on purpose unless they are trying to sabotage your company.
  • Say what you mean and mean what you say.
  • Focus on the positive, and don’t dwell so much on the negative things the team member did.
  • Make mistakes a learning experience.
  • Be likeable. If your team members genuinely like you, they will stay around longer, and will want to please you.
  • Be polite. Ask people to do things in a nice and polite way.
  • Treat them like human beings.
  • Be generous. Don’t expect people to do things for you if you aren’t prepared to stick out your own hand to help them.

Techniques to consider for building team spirit:

  • Encourage team members to support each other. If anyone passes an empty desk they should answer the phone, even to just take that person’s message.
  • Train the team together.
  • Put different people in charge of different projects. This gives everyone a sense of mutual respect.
  • Give your team confidential information. It makes them feel included in company policy.
  • Treat everyone as part of the team, from the messenger, to the temp worker, to the secretary up to the managers.

Individual rewards:

  • Praise – Circulate a memo or email congratulating Alison on a job well done
  • Thanks – A thank-you card with a small present, like theatre tickets, a free lunch, or a three-day weekend for someone
  • Money – Offer a commission on top of the basic salary for the successful account, or a bonus for someone
  • Status – Give someone a new job title or promotion
  • Responsibility _ Give someone a new area of responsibility based on his success on the previous project
  • Freedom – Allow someone to leave the office earlier on a particular day
  • Challenge – Focus on how well someone performed on one task, maybe he can tackle this next big one and earn an even bigger bonus!
  • Training – the opportunity to learn new skills, grow intellectually and become better at what they do is a great motivator and of benefit to the business too

Team rewards:

  • Cream cakes all around
  • A team drink after work
  • A team lunch
  • A team outing, picnic, or a trip to see a trade fair/exhibition
  • A team breakfast in the office
  • Redesign the workplace so it’s brighter and more pleasant to work in
  • Buy more easy chairs for the meeting room and play some nice CD’s
  • Buy a better coffee machine or a cold drinks dispenser

Motivating temps and part-timers

  • Pay part-timers the same rate pro rata as you do full-timers
  • Make an effort to see to it everyone knows the temp’s name and use it often in front of the others
  • Follow the same guidelines about keeping them informed
  • Include them in team activities and rewards
  • Give them bonuses and rewards individually when their performance deserves it
  • If you set a good example, the rest of the team will follow it and treat temps and part-timers with the same respect as the other colleagues.

Motivating a team that’s never around.

How do you build and maintain a team that’s always out on calls, and spread around the country?

  • Meet once a week or once a month
  • Stay in touch by mobile phone and email
  • Encourage contact in twos or threes; tell team member A that maybe team member B is the best person to work with on this problem…
  • Have a bulletin board in a common area or on the internet
  • Train as a team
  • Encourage the one or two members who are always on a fixed site to help foster team spirit and keep everybody gelled together

Motivating people to accept difficult or unpopular decisions

  • Once you’ve outlined the case for the new decision, ask the team members for their views on the decision. Listen.
  • Tell them their arguments are valid
  • Offer a compromise
  • Give good reasons why your decision is more cost-effective, or practical, or logical. Never say simply because “it’s better”.

And remember… Motivation is like food for the brain. You cannot get enough in one sitting. It needs continual and regular top ups.

1 Comment

  1. Seun Alaofin says:

    This is lovely. Staff motivation is very important because it improves their performance efficency and productivity

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