Even the most skilled members of a team are unable to reach their true potential if they lack the motivation to meet the intended goals. It is up to the team leader or manager to inspire individuals and learn how to motivate the members to do what upper management expects them to do. This is not always easy because every individual responds differently. Some need more supervision than others do to keep them on the right track. Others are more enthusiastic from the beginning and require only occasional encouragement to get the job done.
Individuals who are motivated to reach those goals are more productive. This is often true because they have a positive outlook and the desire to perform well even under pressure. They know they are investing their time and effort into a worthwhile project and their contribution will make a difference.
Managers must spend quality time with team members to learn more about their individual personality. Building a positive relationship with workers is important because they are more willing to work hard for someone who they feel genuinely cares about them.
Workers who only communicate with supervisors through memos and emails feel detached from the organization as a whole. One on one time is more effective. This does not mean the manager has to schedule a formal meeting with each individual on a regular basis. A minute or two a day to check in and see how things are going is sufficient. This encourages an exchange of opinions and ideas without the intimidation of participating in a formal or group meeting where some members may be reluctant to speak up in front of everyone.
These short encounters offer a good way for supervisors to identify problems the employee may be having that could affect their work. These problems could have to do with something going on in the workplace or personal issues. Either way, an observant supervisor will spot any problems and offer help as needed before it affects the work of the entire group.
Feedback is an important motivator under any circumstances. Offering constructive criticism when needed helps employees improve performance. If they do not know what they are doing wrong, they will never correct the problem and management will always be disappointed with performance. Managers must be prepared to offer solutions and make suggestions that improve workflow and productivity.
Positive feedback is just as important as negative feedback in the workplace. Supervisors who feel they have no need to praise workers for doing their job as expected are missing an ideal opportunity to motivate them to do better. Employees who never receive praise are more likely to do just enough to get by and never strive for improvement or set their goals higher.
When starting a new project, supervisors must provide context for the project. Employees who do not have a clear understanding of the big picture feel like they are just going through the motions. Managers should explain how the project fits in the with the company’s overall goals.
Members who are committed to the mission feel their contributions add value to the overall effort. They are more likely to rise to the occasion when they know others are depending on them to perform well. They must also know that the other individuals in the group are pulling their weight to achieve the common goal. Individuals should not feel like they are doing all the work while others take credit and reap the benefits.
Managers should clearly define expense and time limits for the project. Workers who understand the boundaries know exactly what is expected of them and will perform accordingly. Regular project reviews will keep everyone in line and offer the opportunity for someone to speak up if the expectations are unreasonable or certain adjustments become necessary.
Allowing workers the opportunity to participate in training is a powerful way to motivate them to improve skills and gain knowledge. Individuals thrive on challenge and giving them the time or financial resources necessary to learn new things related to their work will pay off. They have a new outlook when they return to the workplace. They are even more motivated to perform when they apply what they learned and see positive results.
Managers should lead by example when solving problems. It is better to spend time and energy on creating an effective solution rather than pointing fingers at others and assigning blame. Humans are bound to make mistakes from time to time but individuals who fear reprisal are less willing to own up to their mistakes to the detriment of the project.
Reward systems are powerful motivators but they should address team performance as well as individual accomplishments. The company may be large enough to offer monetary rewards in the form of profit sharing or bonuses for meeting certain goals. While financial reward is a powerful motivator under any circumstances, the compensation does not have to be cash.
Smaller companies can offer other types of incentives for a job well done. They can plan an informal awards ceremony at a local restaurant. Treating the team to lunch and handing out trophies builds camaraderie among members. Time away from the workplace allows people to let loose and encourages interaction. Fostering communication among group members is critical to overall success in any project.
Whatever managers can do to help individuals build trust with each other will benefit the group as a whole. Do not allow members to use isolation tactics to push people away because this will put them at odds with the overall goal. Managers must clearly define each person’s responsibilities to the group the importance of each individual’s contribution to the project.
Managers and team leaders use a variety of methods when learning how to motivate their members but the most effective techniques take into account each individual’s strengths and weaknesses. Allowing members the opportunity to grow in their position will always motivate them to improve performance. The most successful leaders engage team members often, are open to suggestions and react accordingly.