A good employee is one who completes their tasks efficiently and waits to be directed. A great employee is one who gets started on the next task without being asked and enjoys their job in the process. Getting more out of your team isn’t about taking on more duties or chugging through a ‘to do’ list faster; it’s about tapping into their ideas and potential to contribute to the businesses success.
So when trying to get the most out of your staff, understanding what drives them and the rewards that are meaningful to them can help you show your team that they are valued and motivate them to go above and beyond.
Get to know what drives them
Although there are general motivators that encourage positive behaviour in most people (money, comfort, pleasure, etc.), each employee is unique, so understanding the specific motivators that drive them is important. The first key to remember is that there are no “one size fits all” solutions when it comes to motivation, and the idea that money is the greatest mover seems to not be the case in many work environments. Monetary rewards do have their place, however for many employees their experience within the work environment, how valued they feel and how fulfilled they are in their role can be a much greater incentive to contribute.
Value every member’s contribution
When an employee feels valued, they are not only more likely to push themselves further, but also show greater loyalty, more positive word of mouth and a willingness to face issues rather than escape them. It is sometimes as simple as verbally praising a staff member, where possible in the presence of other staff, to make them feel appreciated.
Empowerment can play a big part in making someone feel valued. Try giving individuals responsibility for a project as opposed to micro managing with a list of what they have to do and how they have to do it. This might seem risky but it can also deliver the opportunity for staff to shine, grow and feel valued.
Invest in their development
Another good way of encouraging your team is to invest in their development. Sometimes business owners fear over investing in staff as they worry this may lead to them jumping ship. However, when your team members feel that their professional development is actually viewed as an asset to the business, they are more likely to mould their aspirations around the possibilities your business can offer them. Increase their responsibilities, create specific projects for them and instil the sense that their success is your success.
Be a hands-on leader
A business owner who is too quick to play the boss card can quickly find themselves with a team of disgruntled staff members. Of course there are responsibilities and hard decisions that you must deal with. However, focusing on being an effective leader rather than simply the boss will encourage a greater respect from your staff and show that you are willing to step up when things get tough. Get to know each staff member’s role and be prepared to step in and assist when required. A great leader does not view themselves as above their team or its responsibilities, but rather a part of it.
See mistakes as learning opportunities
Mistakes are an inevitable and unavoidable part of any business. They can also be a setback in a motivated employee’s momentum if they are reprimanded too harshly. While some errors cannot be overlooked, leading your team with the idea that mistakes are valuable and necessary opportunities for learning will help them feel there is always the possibility of improvement, and will also make them more likely to come to you when problems do arise rather than waiting in hope that they will disappear.
Instilling a sense of motivation in your employees is an ongoing yet rewarding process. With a little effort, you can refine your management style so that your team feels valued and nurtured. In turn, the rewards will be a loyal and driven workforce propelling your business to success and cultivating staff for future business expansion.
What are your favourite techniques for motivating your team?