It’s often said that people are the most important asset any company has – but finding a company who truly prioritises looking after their team is a different matter.
If you see heads dropping or get the feeling those Monday morning blues extend right the way through the week, you might need to think about changing the way you support you team. Do it right – and in exchange, you’re almost guaranteed to see increases in productivity…
Ask yourself if you’re doing all of the following:
- Encouraging creativity
Expecting a process to be adhered to is likely to stifle the creativity of your team members.
Instead of applying prescriptive paths to an end result, try giving your team a bit of creative leeway. To do so, you’re going to need to explain to them what the desired end result should look like – instead of the step-by-step on how to get there.
We’re human, so what’s produced might not be exactly what you had in mind – but you should recognise that in allowing some freedom of expression you’re drawing on skills that might surprise you. At the very least, you’ll be viewed as flexible and trusting.
- Set challenges
A high-jumper doesn’t get better by continuing to jump over easily achieved measurements.
There’s some risk involved with setting the bar a bit higher for your team – as there’s a chance they’ll come up short – but don’t forget that there’s a lot of learning to be had in failure.
Setting your team legitimately challenging tasks shows that they’re both valuable and trusted – and there are few better pats on the back than that. And if they miss? Be constructive – what can you do that will support them to achieve next time?
- Say thank you
It can be quite difficult to say thank you at times – it might feel awkward or forced, but psychologists agree there’s very little that is more motivating that getting some appreciation or acknowledgement from the boss.
Managers and leaders sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that everyone knows they’re valued, but this is far from being true. While you might see the positive impact your team has on the bigger picture – the people at the ‘coal face’ probably don’t – so feedback positivity wherever possible.
- Understand the individuals
It’s easy to stereotype in the workplace – and while we’re not suggesting you’re discriminating, broad strokes over what “the sales team” (or anyone else for that matter) like or dislike might be missing the mark considerably.
Rather than making any assumptions about people, take 20 minutes to sit down and find out what makes them tick.
Making little allowances for the person who’s struggling with a hectic school run or the person who wants an earlier lunch is likely to have no impact on the business – but a huge impact on a person’s motivation to express thanks through workplace dedication.
A little time invested now will return itself ten-fold further down the line.
- Look for people doing it right
“I spotted something you were doing earlier, please could you come to my office so I can talk to you about it.”
That’s the kind of phrase or email that sends a shiver down the spine of most employees. So, imagine when they get to your office and find they’re there to receive praise for something good you’ve witnessed?
You don’t have to switch off your critical eyes – but instead of chastising the bad, praise the good – and watch morale soar.
- Create a family feel
There are few methods of motivating a team that are as effective as creating a ‘kinship’ or family feel in the workplace. And the good news is, this doesn’t require getting drunk at a wedding and falling out with one another!
Instead, fostering the spirit of ‘having each other’s back’ should be the goal similar to what Reid Brothers in Glasgow have achieved over the years, lets face it they were established in 1868 so they are doing something right!
Like the wedding, this doesn’t mean you’re all going to get along all the time – but it does mean that you can talk frankly without risk of alienating people.
Always come back to that team bond and the workplace with feel like a safer place. People always feel more motivated if they feel secure.
- Celebrate small wins
While business and company accolades might be reserved for the big orders or new clients – that doesn’t mean that you can’t celebrate the small stuff with your team.
Perhaps you’ve hit a target for the day? Got a project signed off? Worked out a more efficient way of storing your printer cartridges?! Who cares! Focusing on the positives in the day reframes the office mood.
Knowing there’s always a positive in each day does a huge amount for team spirit.
- Create some competition
The idea of competing doesn’t work for everyone – but since you’ve followed tip 4 and now know what makes your team members tick – you might have recognised a competitive streak in some individuals…
This can be levered to everyone’s advantage, as putting little challenges and head-to-heads into the day can inject a bit of good natured humour and drive.
Be careful that people don’t get carried away and that the rules are clear for everyone – but assuming they are, competition and recognition can work wonders for the more extroverted in your team.
- Avoid boredom!
The phrase ‘the rat race’ is used a lot when people describe their boring jobs. A endless chase, reminiscent of lab-rats – just to achieve the means to keep yourself alive to start it all over again tomorrow.
Don’t underestimate the power boredom has to knock all motivation out of a person. If you get the impression people are falling into this ‘rat race’ routine it you might be the person to mix things up a little.
Allowing people their own creative input into tasks is method of breaking this monotony we’ve already covered – but be prepared to make bigger changes for people. Throw their routine out of the window, move the office, swap some roles – the slight hindrance caused in the short-term is worth it to avoid people jumping ship long-term…