Motivate your Teams for Success

Motivation will almost always beat mere talent.” – Norman Ralph Augustine

It is true that even if your company has a majority of talented and highly skilled employees it would not help if they did not have the enthusiasm to use those qualities for the benefit of the company. Any company is only as strong and competent as the teams. It is therefore the job of your company to motivate your teams in order to achieve sustainable success. In order to motivate in the right direction it is important for the company and its leadership to understand what would motivate your teams – better salary, job security, work-life balance, better work environment and relationships with their co-workers, definite career growth path, all of these or other factors that only they would be able to enlist.

At the heart of motivation lies engagement. If your company is able to engage with the employees, you can be sure that they would be motivated to put their talents, skills and knowledge to the optimum use.  Motivate your teams regularly to insure that your company works smoothly and is energized to serve customers and are ‘fired’ up to accomplish any and every goal that the company sets for them and itself.

There are many reasons that employees can be de-motivated. This is a direct cause of dissatisfaction and companies must understand what needs to be done in order to eliminate the discontent. The removal of discontent could uphold a congenial work environment but people may still not work to their optimum capacity which therefore will lead to a dip in productivity. When you motivate your teams you work towards creating a healthy work environment and providing all the other factors that will sustain the enthusiasm and morale of your teams. To motivate your teams is different from simply pacifying them with transient offers – motivation is sustainable and its effects are longer lasting and actually helps to improve output and work quality. To motivate your teams the focus of any company must be on providing their employees with a sense of achievement, giving them opportunities of responsibility and regularly recognizing and rewarding them for high performance.

Any company’s success and the efficacy of its leadership are demonstrated through the ability to motivate and guide ‘their people’. Employees look up to and emulate what the leaders do and depend on the leaders to lead them through tough times, make some hard decisions and also help them to recognize their own and each other’s capabilities. To motivate your teams, no coercion is required – there is no need to feel like they need to be dominated. Using fear or force to get work done does not amount to motivation. Instead, the leaders must show respect, care, set high expectations and build enthusiasm to instil a sense of pride and a desire to do more in the employees. To motivate your teams enlist the help of the team members – show them that nothing is possible without them and that each person’s success is each individual’s responsibility and the onus of the persons they work with. Make your teams, instruments of change and success. When people work together collaboratively, they will be more efficient and will be able to energize each other thereby achieving a lot more than teams that are constantly in conflict or wary of each other.

As part of customer service, when companies need to know what customers need, they use surveys and other tools to directly ask them – which in turn leaves the customers feeling valued and important.  To motivate your teams it is best to find out from them directly. Ask them – in team meetings, in individual sit-ins, through employee surveys and other such means. Check with them on issues of their job responsibilities, the immediate manager, the teams they work within, their compensation and benefits packages and other factors that would directly affect their performance and mind-set in the workplace.  This must be done at least bi-annually for all and also on an as-is basis in case there is someone or a group of people who are facing some issues. This exercise should be part of the annual performance review too.

Previously we ‘spoke’ in detail about how important it is for a company to make the right hires. The hiring process must be meticulous and the job descriptions and person characteristics must be clearly laid out. Hiring people who don’t have the desired attitudes and aptitudes would only serve to create a feeling of disharmony and inequality within the teams, leading to de-motivation and even conflicts. Ensure that your teams remain effective through regular training programs – in fact some companies use high profile training programs and assignments as benefits in addition to compensation. Motivate your teams through equal opportunities of such programs, plan ahead with them such that the workload is equally divided when someone does go on training and lead them by disseminating knowledge, experience and skills that the leaders and more experienced people in the team have.

Each job does have some mundane / routine tasks. However, to motivate your teams ensure that tasks that are redundant and add no value are done away with. No one likes to feel that they are doing jobs that are unimportant. Encourage your teams to understand why they are doing certain tasks and which steps within a certain job can be done away with for maximum efficacy. It is important that the team’s managers delegate important tasks to their teams and not those that they want to get rid of or assign because they suddenly feel overloaded and overworked. Employees can easily perceive this ‘off-loading’ making them feel used and being taken advantage of. To ensure that each person within the team knows that she or he is making a significant contribution plan workloads and tasks well in advance and provide the employees with the necessary tools and support they would need to do the tasks well.

Once your company / leaders provide the employees with whatever they need to get the tasks underway, the ideal way to motivate your teams is to then step aside and let them take charge. It would be their responsibility to ensure that the job they do is accomplished with perfection and in accordance with a standard that was earlier agreed upon mutually. Breathing down people’s necks and micro-managing are sure shot ways of demoralizing and frustrating your teams. Allowing the teams to make decisions and seeking out the best methods to get results along the course of the task is a great way to motivate your teams.

Very often, post the completion of tasks, due recognition and acknowledgement of the effort and results is critical to motivate your teams. Appreciation makes people feel valued and important – which are two main factors in fuelling enthusiasm and high standards of work. Even small gestures have a significant impact. The rewards and recognition must be aligned with and should compare with the importance and difficulty of the task completed. This must be an on-going and relentless effort – inconsistency in recognition would have a direct impact on productivity and work output.

Leaders and the companies must display exemplary behaviour. They must encourage and promote world-class services, products and employee processes. Anything that is sub-standard would encourage mediocrity and soon employees become demoralized and do not have any motivation in ‘putting their best foot forward’.  By promoting excellence, a company can then expect its employees to work with the highest standards of quality. If you don’t expect much from your employees, they would have no motivation to give you their best. Show them that you care and respect their efforts – each person must be encouraged to behave politely and with utmost esteem for others.

The success of a company does not only depend on great products or services or the fact that customer needs and expectations are understood – a great part of the success can be traced back to how the employees of the company are treated. It is the onus and prime responsibility of your company is to ensure that you treat their employees with care and make every effort to motivate your teams through multiple ways depending on what works best for your company’s culture and vision.

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