As a leader, it does not matter what product or service your company offers or what specific responsibility your team has; your job is to motivate and develop your employees. While most leaders believe motivation is the key to any organization's success, many struggle to keep their people motivated on daily basis.
So if keeping your teams motivated is a struggle in good times, is it even harder in a weak economy? Yes, absolutely. The focus shifts to the tough economy so it becomes even easier to ignore the day-to-day obstacles.
Here's an idea - instead of ignoring the real issues, challenge your team to recognize, overcome and be successful. Of course, it may be tough when research shows two important factors are prohibiting leaders from doing their jobs effectively: a) they fear losing their jobs due to downsizing and/or b) they lack knowledge of how to actually motivate their teams. If leaders are afraid of losing their jobs, imagine how the employees feel.
So, as leaders, how can you motivate someone - or even yourself - when there is fear of being laid off? The fact is the best way to keep your job during reorganization is to stay focused on your job and ignore the "noise"; do your job better than anyone else. Corporate leaders will, at some point in their careers, experience company restructures and downsizing. During these times it is important not to ignore the option of losing your job; however don't focus on it. Focus on what you can control-you, your team's actions and ultimately the performance of your division. There is no doubt; the market and economy will rebound and will be bigger and better than ever. The only thing question is, when? While this is an optimistic view, what choice do you have? You can be motivated and believe you will achieve your goals, or you can focus on the negatives and feel miserable and hopeless. It's vital you choose to be excited and motivated with an optimistic outlook for a better end result. Here's the best part: By making this choice as a leader, your team will follow your example.
So, this being said, how can you keep your team motivated every day? Again, while motivation is the key part of any leader's job, it is one of the most difficult. People are made up of energy and when people communicate with each other, it is merely a transfer of energy. To keep your team motivated on a long-term, consistent basis, a leader must have a plan that involves that energy. A leader needs to focus on what he or she can do daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly to achieve the goal: to maximize their team's motivation.
Two key principals for motivation:
- Knowledge creates confidence and when a person is confident, he or she is more motivated to take action: (Knowledge + Confidence = Motivation)
- A leader must turn the energy thermostat to HIGH! Everyone has to understand the right energy will empower everybody to achieve more. Remember most people spend more time at work than at home, so it should be fun and motivating.
To maximize your team's motivation, here are some things you can do daily, weekly and quarterly in your office:
Something to do daily: As a leader, when you get to the office, walk around and talk to every person. Leaders usually have a thousand things they need to complete every day, as soon as possible, so many walk straight to their offices and get to work right away. WRONG! The most important task is to get the team ready for the day. Walk the office every morning pump up your employees as they walk in the door. Remember it is not only what you say, but how you say it. Give positive energy and be genuine as you spend time with each person.
Something to do weekly: Everybody complains about sales meetings and staff meetings except the person holding the meeting. Because communication is so important to any company's success, not having a meeting is NOT going to work; instead, ensure the meeting is effective and a good use of time. Use the meeting to teach your team how to do their jobs better. This doesn't mean teaching your staff more about the product or service you make or sell, but rather focusing on the soft skills. Soft skills are leadership, customer service, sales, and communication. Every week choose a different topic. For example, next week try to make your customers feel special every time you talk to them.
Something to do quarterly: Conduct an all-team practice day; an offsite meeting that encourages employee growth and motivation is the best option for this. Make this event an extreme learning experience that involves everybody and allows each employee to learn and have fun.
Many companies don't think they have the budget for these activities, but that is a huge mistake. When you compare the cost of these offsite events - whether they are quarterly or semi-annually - to the cost of having complacent and unmotivated employees, it is a small price to pay. Remember your employees are one of your largest expenses, and also the single largest contributor to your revenue. Don't look at these events as an expense, but rather an investment in the company's success.
Remember to "play to win" day in and day out. You should never be in the defensive position waiting for either the corporate ax to come down, or hoping your teams will motivate themselves. Get in the trenches, talk with your teams, be energetic, positive and focused and your team will do the same with your customers, ultimately ensuring your success.
Nathan Jamail, president of the Jamail Development Group and author of "The Sales Leaders Playbook," is a motivational speaker, entrepreneur and corporate coach. As a former executive director for Sprint and business owner of several small businesses, Nathan travels the country helping individuals and organizations achieve maximum success. His clients include Radio Shack, Nationwide Insurance, Metro PCS, and Century 21. To book Nathan, visit www.NathanJamail.com or contact (972) 377-0030.