Inspiring leaders recognize that money is not the main reason people come to work. Sure, it’s the primary motivator for why we work—but once the concept of comparable pay for comparable work has been addressed, it fails to inspire passion in the work place. Truly understanding the real reasons why most people turn up for work day after day, year after year, is the top priority for leaders wanting to get the most out of their team.
Great leaders learn how to motivate their people on an individual basis instead of falsely assuming they’ll all work harder for an extra financial incentive. Here are 4 powerful ways to motivate your team:
1. Recognize Outstanding Performance
Everyone should understand the Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) that measure individual and team success. It’s vital that great performance is properly measured and openly recognized because that’s the number one motivator inspiring people to constantly improve themselves. I call it the Performance Excelerator™ because everyone responds positively when they know they’re appreciated.
Recognition can be achieved in many different ways, but the most important criterion is to understand how an individual would like to be recognized.
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Each person is different and this needs to be reflected in how you recognize their contribution. Some would be mortified by a public display—appreciating a private pat on the back—while someone else will positively glow when they are publically recognized. A simple plaque or having their name on a performance board may be appropriate.
A second element of knowing the individual is recognizing what type of incentive would be most relevant and appreciated. A financial incentive is one method—but isn’t the only option. Other incentives can include prizes such as: movie tickets, spa treatment, holiday packages, a paid day off. In each case, try to understand the interests of the person you are recognizing.
Recognizing quality performance in different ways makes it more enjoyable for the team, increases productivity and encourages friendly rivalry which is a huge morale booster.
2. Respect Your Team the Way You Expect Them to Respect You
Respect your people and they will show you the same courtesy. You make decisions that affect them on a regular basis. Such decisions range from weekly work scheduling to ongoing staff appraisals.
Demonstrate fairness in all dealings with your team; be open about it and you’ll earn their respect. They don’t need to like you for you to do your job, but they must respect you.
Don’t get involved in office politics and resolve all conflicts quietly and in private. Individuals may have cause to clash at times and there’s nothing worse than a major conflict upsetting the whole team environment because it isn’t handled properly.
Be a leader that people respect by working with them instead of having an “us and them” mentality. A good leader doesn’t hide in his office with the door closed. He’s out there with his team, offering assistance where possible.
3. Use All the Brains You Can Borrow
A good leader is smart enough to acknowledge they don’t have all the answers, no matter how experienced.
Don’t be afraid to ask for ideas regarding just about anything related to their work. Ultimately the leader will make the best decision possible, but different team members will have different perspectives and will offer possibilities that may not otherwise have even been considered. Involving your team in the decision-making process makes them feel appreciated and valued, even if the leader doesn’t implement their ideas.
Being open and soliciting other ideas also demonstrates a further level of respect for individuals and the team as a whole. And when they see their ideas in action, their commitment to its success is magnified.
4. Positive Energy Creates a Powerful Team
As a leader, you must remain positive at all times. Each of us has the ability to choose their attitude each day—and yours should always be positive. You should also do everything to ensure your team stays focused on the positive.
You should also welcome the opportunity to discuss any negativity or complaints as soon as they occur—so they can be addressed and corrected. Whether they’re customer or team complaints, having a frank and open discussion and fixing them immediately will negate their impact and reinforce the positive energy.
These are only four of the many powerful methods a great leader can use to motivate individuals and teams to realize their full potential. However, understanding and working with your people, individually and as a team, to achieve common goals is the key.