Here at Stathakis, our people are the foundation of our business. Being in the service business, if our people are not trained, motivated and managed well, nothing else really matters. There simply is no way to make up for people problems in a service business. But motivating people isn’t a straight line from A to B. People are individuals and what may excite one person may not do anything for another. And let’s face it, no matter how talented someone is or how self-driven, we ALL need to be motivated to continually do our best and strive higher, even us leaders.
So do you want to know how to motivate your teams? Great leaders don’t have just one way to motivate people, they have at least a dozen ways! If you as a leader need some motivation to motivate, consider the following list of some of my go to ways to get people fired up, engaged in the work we do and doing their best.
Ask questions because the more informed you are the better your decisions will be and the more your people will respect them. If they believe you are making decisions without really knowing how it impacts everyone, they are far less likely to comply. Lots of questions signals that you really want to know what is going on and makes your help and input much more effective.
Provide specific, positive feedback to your people. People need to know what they are doing right and they need you to notice. Specific praise from you the leader is gas in your employee’s tank and the fuel for more good work. Why? Because event he best employees may get defeated and deflated if they think no one notices their effort. And even if you have a problematic or less than stellar team member, try your best to find something, anything to call out as positive, it can be remarkably effective in turning things around.
But don’t be afraid to hold people accountable. Positive feedback is important to morale but so is accountability. Your people need to know that when they deliver less than expected, it is unacceptable. To your lower performers, this accountability can provide the incentive to toe the line. For your high performing people, seeing others face consequences for nonperformance is its own kind of positive feedback.
Be clear and realistic about what you expect. Your people can’t win the race if they don’t know where the finish line is. And don’t set expectations too high hoping the higher they are, the harder your people will work. High-level performers get demotivated if the goal is unreachable or unrealistic.
Walk the walk. You must, must lead by example or what you say carries significantly less weight. You are a powerful role model but if you have rules that you don’t follow, you will be forced to rely on threats and force to assure compliance. But when you lead by example, your team is INSPIRED to do better. Inspiration is much more effective long term.
Be a know-it-all. Your competency in what you do provides direction and stability for your team. Understanding the many moving parts of your business is a critical part of leadership. Your employees need to feel like there is a reason you are in charge and captaining the ship, you are the expert. That doesn’t mean you can’t ever be wrong and even go off course, only that you must be the one who continually strives to know and understand more because you are the one who has to see the bigger picture.
Reward and recognize hard work, integrity and responsibility. These people are the core of your business and need to be told, rewarded and grown. People that are natural hard workers with a high degree of integrity and responsibility can be the best seeds to plant long term. Which brings us to the next key point.
Encourage and look for opportunities to grow good people. If you find an employee that has desire, a willingness to learn and work and a sense of responsibility, you can TEACH them the skills for the job. Training someone on reporting or how to use inspection software is MUCH easier than trying to instill a strong work ethic in someone that doesn’t already have one.
Be authentic and connect with your people. People can sense authenticity and it builds trust. That doesn’t mean you have to be nice or touchy-feely, just be yourself. And get to know your people because people who feel seen and cared about will work so much harder for you. If you think you don’t have time, delegate some of your other duties to managers under you because the caring and connection must come from you.
Be a visionary. As a leader, you MUST offer a clear picture of the future for your people. Of course change is inevitable but presenting a vision for the future as you see it gives your employees a sense of security in your leadership.
Leading a large team is like nothing else. It is often tiring, thankless, lonely and comes with so much responsibility, even the toughest and most well suited among us can falter or lose sight of our real purpose in leading a team. When you are struggling to motivate your team, go back to these points and work out some ways to do more and better for you, your people and your organization. The work is hard but the rewards are there.