Motivating your team is one of those goals that can easily drop to the bottom of your list of priorities. Managers often have a hard time understanding exactly how to motivate a team, keeping them focused and fired up over time. After working with numerous executives in different industries, I’ve observed the following tried and true team motivation techniques that you can put into practice right away.
Establish Clear Goals. Constantly working to accomplish a set of vague, imprecise goals can be draining for anyone, even your most enthusiastic team member. Work to create clear goals and present them early on, so everyone knows what needs to be achieved. It’s also helpful to provide goals that include measurable accomplishments. For example, rather than asking your team to improve customer service, ask them to increase the number of positive customer reviews by 10% within the next two months.
Another secret of successfully motivating a team is to set a group goal instead of (or in addition to) individual goals. Giving the team something to work toward together encourages members to collaborate and help each other as they reach for a common target. Once these goals are in place, that doesn’t mean you can step away and wait for everyone to knock them out of the park. Communicate and check in when necessary – especially if your team is tackling an unfamiliar task.
Reward Achievements. Whenever your team hits one of their long-term goals, find a way to reward them. While individual rewards are great, aim for incentives that all members can enjoy together. By rewarding the group with a team outing or trip, you not only provide a common motivator, but the reward doubles as a bonding opportunity.
Get feedback from the team about how they’d like to celebrate hitting their next goal. Drawing from their requests and announcing the reward early on will give the entire team a reason to get excited and work harder to achieve success.
Set a Great Example. Almost nothing kills team motivation faster than a leader whom team members perceive as dishonest, ungrateful or unmotivated. In other words, you should reflect what you’d like to see from your group members. If your team lacks enthusiasm, find genuine reasons to get excited about reaching your goals. If you ask the group to bring ideas to the next meeting, bring your own ideas too.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, make sure you consistently go to bat for your team when you’re dealing with your superiors. Employees are almost always willing to work harder for a manager who stands up for their best interests.
What have you learned about how to motivate your team? Tell us what worked for you in the comments below.