CSR_Fig2_Position-Your-Content-Team-for-Success-from-the-First-HireRarely anything incredible can be accomplished without motivation, either at an individual or group level. Motivation is a key ingredient for success. So, what does it really take to shape a highly motivated team? Leaders and managers wrestle with this question.

Keeping a motivated team can sometimes be hard especially if you do not take time to know your team. Often, some employers concentrate on the final results and forget the process that it takes to achieve those desired results.

It’s evident that every employer looks for the best candidates who will deliver the best results. However, once they find those candidates, they do so little to retain them or keep them interested and motivated. Without motivation, much of the employees’ potential is left untapped, thus defeating the original hiring goal.

The best place to begin is the self; when, as a leader, you do your work with passion and dedication, that positive energy is very contagious. Example is the best motivator as Rupert Murdoch puts it; “In motivating people, you’ve got to engage their minds and their hearts. It is good business to have an employee feel part of the entire effort . . . ; I motivate people, I hope, by example and perhaps by excitement, by having provocative ideas to make others feel involved,” If you, the leader, do not show any passion for your job, how would you expect your team to get excited about the project to go the extra mile?

While what motivates employees differs, it is worth having some universal drivers that will keep everyone energized. We all look for work that is interesting, challenging, rewarding, engaging, fosters creativity, demands increased responsibility in a friendly working environment.  Managers, leaders or supervisors play a key role in ensuring that staff love and enjoy their work. Regardless of the size of the organization or company, managers should strive to know their teams well, keep them engaged, seek feedback and provide the right support system.

Create a culture of open dialogue allowing room for new insights and ideas. It feeds into cultivating relationships with team members. It is difficult to motivate someone if you do not know what their aspirations and needs are. A great leader takes interest in their team on an individual level, getting to know one’s belief system, needs, career aspirations, and what drives them. Once you get a grasp of these personal drivers, then you have a reference point to craft an individualized motivational strategy. People need to know and feel cared for, respected, and valued.

Employees get disorientated and frustrated by different drivers. As a manager, do you get time to listen to your colleagues’ grievances, complaints, feedback? Feedback is important in helping the organization to know how it’s progressing. While we all love positive feedback, as a leader you should give attention to negative feedback as this will help you work on what needs to be improved.

When was the last time salaries and or benefits were revised? Are you a micromanager? It’s true that micromanagement might have some of the best intentions especially for the boss, but in the long run, it shovels creativity deep into the ground, limits engagement and eventually curtails productivity.

If you want to keep a motivated team, give them some level of autonomy. This will guarantee an enabling environment to be more detail oriented, sparking creativity and innovation hence improving the quality of output.

Have you ever been in a situation where top management decisions are communicated by a junior level staff? I have, over time, noticed that bosses love and feel proud communicating good news about new developments or initiatives, big celebrations and events and yet do not want to take responsibility for communicating some of the bad news or sad changes; they rather delegate junior staff to be the messengers of “doom.” Such an approach creates unnecessary rumbling and discontent among the other team members including other recipients of the information.

A great leader does not shy away from communicating difficult news. It is not prudent to use junior staff to communicate any information that is deemed the responsibility of the senior management team or the boss.  You would miss an opportunity to engage in a dialogue about the issue and minimize speculation and animosity that may raise as a result of the bad news. Remember, communication is a key arm of an organization. How information is communicated to staff and external audience will determine the level of respect that the leader will earn.

Boredom at work is a sign that one is de-motivated. A bored employee is an underutilized personnel and a waste of the organization’s resources. A great leader makes effort to create a skills inventory of his team members and aligns tasks to those specific skills. Don’t stick to past approaches, this is a first moving world and new approaches have evolved. Be open, embrace change. Borrowing from Leigh Branham and Mark Hirschfeld “…It’s sad, really, how a negative workplace can impact our lives and the way we feel about ourselves. The situation is reaching pandemic heights – most people go to work at jobs they dislike, supervised by people who don’t care about them, and directed by senior leaders who are often clueless about where to take the company…”

According to Jack Welch former CEO of GE; there are only three measurements that tell you nearly everything you need to know about your organization’s overall performance: employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and cash flow. It goes without saying that no company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it. 

Knowing these key drivers, you as a manager can do a lot to energize your team and drive productivity at work.  The more you can relieve those depressing, de-motivating issues and outweigh them with the motivating factors of growth and achievement, the more motivated and engaged your team will be. Therefore, mastering motivation techniques can be one of the most prized assets.

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