Don’t tell them. SHOW them. Employees (the great ones, at least) want to know the work they’re doing is making an impact. Show them results, numbers, and provide feedback that clearly communicates how valuable their efforts are.
Be kind. Nobody wants to work for an autocrat. Remember that your team members are human. Seek to understand their motivations. Never assume. When in doubt, ask.
Be crystal clear regarding goals and expectations. This can’t be overstated. If they’re not clear on what they’re supposed to be doing, to what kind of standard can you realistically hold them?
Hold them accountable. The best employees want this. They don’t mind having to report on their efforts and answering for their time. But be careful to not make your reporting requirements so cumbersome that the team spends most of its time writing summaries instead of actually being productive.
Ask for their opinions. Don’t just make it a formality. People see right through that nonsense. Show that you truly care about what they have to say. Find some way, any way, to implement a few of the tactics they suggest.
Coach. Be willing to roll up your sleeves and take time to provide useful guidance to your team members. Be patient. Capitalize on each individual’s strengths. Remember that your team members are not you, they never were, and they never will be. Build people up. Increase their confidence. Praise progress.
Defend them. Always have your team’s back. Don’t throw them under the bus to save your own behind. You must accept responsibility for the choices you make as leaders. That includes the directives you give to your team members and even if those directives end up being mistakes. Own it. You’re the leader.
Have fewer meetings. Billions of dollars in missed productivity is the result of useless meetings. Don’t meet for the sake of meeting. Have something new to discuss. If you can gather the information you need via e-mail, you don’t need a meeting. If you can’t find enough items for a real agenda, you don’t need a meeting. If you don’t need a meeting, don’t have a meeting.
Show humility. Yes, you’re in charge. But take that responsibility and turn it into something worthy of the respect that you seek. Never underestimate the power of humility.
Smile more. Simple enough.
What are your thoughts? Are there other tactics that you use or have used to help motivate team members? Comment below and let’s get a discussion going!
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