All businesses are in challenging times at the moment and keeping ourselves, and those around us, positive, motivated and focused compounds this challenge.
So how do we best motivate our staff?
Bonuses and rewards make decent motivational tools, but their effects can be short-term. The best way to motivate employees, especially over the long haul, is by creating an environment they enjoy working in. Motivating staff is a sure way to get the best from them – yet it is not something for a to-do list. Motivation comes from consistent cultural shifts from within the business.
Here are some things for you to think about.
Does your business vision inspire?
People become motivated if they are excited about the purpose of the business and how they can contribute towards achieving it. If you communicate a clear vision with passion and enthusiasm, you will rally the troops. Each employee needs to understand how their work contributes towards the company achieving its goals. It also clears any uncertainty they may have about their future security.
Are you a good role model for the rest of the staff?
If you’ve got staff then part of your role is to be a leader. The attitude and behaviour of the leader sets the tone for the whole business. Are you a role model for your business – your staff are constantly watching you and will take your lead to inspire enthusiasm. At times this may mean that you need to pump yourself up, or use the services of a colleague, coach or mentor to keep you motivated and focused.
Are your staff given the opportunity to be creative?
They will feel more motivated if they work in an environment where they are given the opportunity to be creative. Believe it or not, they want to be involved in the business and helping you to achieve your vision. Give people freedom to make some of the decisions. Encourage collaborative problem solving. Ask questions of the team to get feedback on issues and ideas and listen to their responses closely.
Do your staff feel appreciated and listened to?
Take the time to get to know your employees and to understand their priorities and desires. If you know more about them as individuals and their lives outside work, you will begin to understand each person, and what motivates them.
How effective are your teams?
Working as part of an effective team can be very powerful and motivating. Unfortunately the converse is also true. Even the most self motivated individual cannot maintain enthusiasm if they are part of a dysfunctional team that is not meeting its deliverables.
Do you regularly recognise and reward effort?
Employees need recognition and praise. Give ample feedback and recognition whenever possible. As the leader make sure that you voice your appreciation of good work and provide positive feedback in a specific way. Recognise both exceptional individual contribution as well as teamwork.
Say Thank You
It’s surprising how well we all feel from being recognised. The humble, if rare, “Thank You” is a simple, yet very powerful way to recognise the efforts every one of your team puts in every day. Think of the last time someone said thank you to you and how great that made you feel.