“We are not a team because we work together.  We are a team because we respect, trust and care for each other.”  -Vala Afsar

Change in the workplace tends to introduce uncertainty, stress and anxiety in the employees who are affected by it as well as the leaders that are implementing the change.  Unfortunately, this inevitably has an impact on employee motivation and performance. Employee engagements and workplace success are more likely if you motivate your team.

Motivation is an intrinsic part (changing oneself from within) as opposed to an extrinsic part (external rewards) of team building and a challenge for most every team leader.  Unfortunately, some managers use old time tactics like authority and fear or they draw on accrued good will of the employees to achieve results.  If you do this, be careful.  This only works for a limited time and can ultimately damage your credibility as a team leader.  It’s my opinion, that a leadership style with an employee-focused orientation is one of the major keys to motivating your team.  Through personal experience in leading teams, there are 7 key steps that can help you become a phenomenal team leader who helps your employees feel motivated and inspired.

The following is a list of 7 key steps that can help you motivate and inspire your team:

#1 – Clear Goal Setting
Goal-setting is linked to task performance and is the main source of intrinsic motivation – that is the motivation driven by an interest in the task. Setting specific and clear goals leads to greater output and better team performance. The key is to set clear and measurable goals with a deadline for completion.  This step can help avoid any misunderstandings.

#2 – Empower People
Openness and the direct involvement of team members in the decision making is another critical step.  Provide support and facilitate discussion to help the team solve problems.  Coach and encourage them in solving those problems rather than bringing them to you to solve.  As their confidence, commitment and competence increase, delegate more tasks to the team and let the team members make the decision and find the solution to the problems.

#3 – Provide Support
Change usually implies that the team must learn new skills to understand and interpret new methods of working. The team leader must provide an opportunity for the team and individual team members to develop and try the new approach.  Be sure you have provided the appropriate level of development and training and provide ample time for the team and its members to confirm their newly learned skills.

#4 – Communicate the Vision
Defining, developing, and communicating the vision is relatively straightforward. Inspiring others to follow is the real challenge. To inspire your team you need to communicate a simple clear and relevant vision of the way forward.  This is not an easy task.  You are asking them to follow your vision to an end result and some may not agree.  Don’t force them to conform but try to show them the path is the correct path.  REMEMBER, it is better to make an adjustment to the path then to continue going down a path that will not get you to the desired end goal. Take responsibility for your actions.  It will be a learning opportunity for your team to hear you say you made an error rather than to force the team to achieve a bad goal. Once more, you too need to be credible, trusted and believable.

#5 – Show Appreciation and Value
You must invest time and energy in your team. Every member of your team needs to feel they are respected, appreciated and valued. They need to know that you have a personal interest and commitment in them. Recognizing their input, commitment and effort shows that they are valued and the work they do really does matter.

Beyond showing appreciation and value, show your employees respect and admiration for their work.  While people want to know they are respected, you must establish the ground rules for how respect is earned.

Unfortunately, too many people want recognition because they forgot the value of earning respect. As a team leader you may need to train your employees about the importance of respect by leading them in how to earn it.  When they see the greater impact respect delivers, they will be inspired by your example.

#6 – Know Your Employees
The secret recipe to inspiring employees is to know the “ingredients” of the people you are motivating and inspiring.  People want to know that their leaders understand their knowledge, tendencies, and behaviors well enough to best work with and motivate them.  The best leaders and coaches always get to know their team members.  This takes time to listen and learn about each team member, but when you spend time with your employees, make it matter.  Don’t just expect your time and title to inspire them.

Employees are most inspired when a leader takes the time to know them and shows that they have their best interests at heart.

#7 – Professional Growth and Development
Historically, leaders have used increased responsibility to inspire performance.  While this approach may still have merit, it is when a leader can help foster the professional growth and development of their employees that performance most flourishes.  Leaders must take more time to mentor or guide their employee’s growth and development.

A team whose members are aligned with its purpose feel a challenge in their work and will have a strong sense of belonging and being valued. The team will be motivated and inspired and take responsibility for their actions.

So, go forth and motivate and inspire your team!

If you want to apply some of the suggestions – go slowly.  Take one or two of the suggestions and try them.  Give it some time for the employees to respond as changes won’t appear overnight.  If you are concerned about how to implement one of the suggestions, give us a call at Invista Performance Solutions.  We would love to assist you in implementing these suggestions.