Motivating employees is important to your business or workgroup. As the leader, you will find that it is your responsibility to keep the troops motivated during good times and bad. As a sales manager for various companies, I found that motivating employees was the most important job I had. I soon learned that if I did nothing else but that things would go well.
Motivating Employees is a Daily Activity
You may feel that this is a difficult task. It’s really not that hard to do if you keep a few basics in mind.
Always Keep the Work Environment Light-hearted and Fun
I have a philosophy that goes something like this–when things are going well, you can ride your people like there is no tomorrow. When things are not going well, you should lighten up. The aftermath of a bad sales quarter is an excellent time to have that off-sight motivational retreat, rather than a corporate flogging. Your people will be much more open to examining what went wrong and how to correct it if they are in a nurturing environment. There will be many times when it will be necessary to put on the pressure, so you must prepare for times like this.
Create an Environment Where Everyone Has a Sense of Belonging
Surveys show it time and time again; employees cite a sense of belonging is far more important as a motivating factor for motivating employees than even compensation. People like to belong to a workplace where they feel they are contributing. They must feel aligned with the work at hand, their colleagues, and their boss. A sense of belonging leads to a commitment on the part of your employees. Start by getting to know each one of the people who work for you. Find out about their families and something personal about them that you can relate to on a daily basis. Striving to have some kind of positive contact with each one of them daily is very important. If you have employees who work at a remote location, be sure to contact them by phone or personal email daily. Make sure they understand that your number one priority is to support and help them in any way you can. Your interactions with them must be genuine. They can spot a phony a mile away. Don’t get caught being fake with them in any way.
You Must Be Authentic
No one will follow you if they cannot believe what you say or if you act fake in any way. If you try to put on airs or pretend to be something that you are not, they will pick up on it immediately. If they catch you in a lie, you should own up to it and tell them as much information as you can. If you develop a reputation as a liar, they will never follow you. In addition to being honest at all times, share information that is important and conducive to motivating employees. They will become vested in their own success and in yours if you are as open as possible with sharing information.
The best leaders I have known are the ones who communicate and over-communicate with those who work for them. They are always mindful of motivating employees. If you are in a sales organization, you should be communicating the numbers to your people on a weekly basis. Everyone in your organization should know their own goals, your goals, and company goals. Everyone in your organization should know how these groups are performing against goals on a regular basis. If you are in a secretive organization where no one understands the goals and the results, you are already on your way to failure. Your efforts at motivating employees will surely be compromised.
Great leaders understand that goals and objectives must be communicated to the troops early and often. I once had a boss who spent his entire day working on reports to upper management. He never bothered to share these reports with the people who reported to him. As a result, everyone thought he was secretive and didn’t trust anything that he said. Maybe that is because he used these reports as an excuse to hide in his office all day and never spoke to the people who work for him.
Crisis Management Tip for Motivating Employees
Motivating employees can be quite simple. If you find yourself with a group of employees who are not motivated, try this simple exercise. Tomorrow morning, make it a point to walk around your department or division and speak to everyone on a personal level. A simple “good morning, how are you” will do. Do every day for a week? I promise you you’ll see a shift in their attitude for the better immediately. Something else strange and wonderful will also happen. You will start getting feedback from them about ways to improve the business. You will learn what their challenges are, and probably get some new solutions to problems that you would never have thought of on your own.
If you already speak to each one of your people on a daily basis, take it to the next level. Form a task force of influential employees to tackle some of those problems that are sitting on your desk. The best way of motivating employees and to solving management problems is to engage them in a formal process. It gives them pride in their work and it will give you a reputation as a very innovative and creative problem solver.
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