motivate your team

When growing a business, your team is the most important part of your company. And as a leader, it’s your job to ensure that your team is doing everything they can to grow profits and help the company succeed. That’s tough to do when your team isn’t motivated. So how do you motivate your team on a daily basis?

In this post I’ll walk you through a couple amazing way to motivate your team daily so that you can achieve more success. Here are ten key ways to motivate your team

Ask Key Questions

Many business owners and managers actually impose their own motivations on their team, when in reality people are all motivated by different things.

Some feel monetary incentives are great motivators, others appreciate credit where credit is due, but you’ll never know unless you ask. Look around. What incentives do you have in place? How did you come by those incentives? Ask. That’s the key.

Ask your employees what they’re motivated by, and really listen to their answers. You may choose to offer different incentives for different employees to best suit their individual motivations. For instance, you may give one employee an extra day off while you give another a monetary bonus, depending on their interests and motivators.

To Open Your Ears, Open Your Mind

This sounds easy, but it isn’t. We are all creatures of habit and value our own opinions, but if you truly listen to your team and open your mind to new ideas, you’ll be surprised at the energy, motivation, and success that will follow.

You can see the benefits of doing this in many different scenarios. Maybe your company is struggling and you have to be open to new ideas to turn it around. Perhaps that potential employee you really love isn’t the best fit for the team, and you need to look past your gut and listen to your teammates. Or maybe it’s as simple as envisioning the future of your company and imagining where it will be in a few years. Once you open up your mind to the possibilities, anything is possible.

Make Your Feedback Valid

Sometimes keeping quiet until you’ve really thought something through is the best practice. Phrases like, “You’ve brought up an interesting point; let me think about it and I’ll get back to you,” or, “I hadn’t looked at it that way before. How would we implement your idea?” are very effective, especially if you make it a point to get back to your team.

Don’t just offer lip service; give weight to each valid idea. Your employees want to feel listened to, so if you say you’re going to seriously consider a question or idea, do it and be honest about your feedback. Telling them it’s a great idea when you know you’re not going to follow through will only create mistrust and hurt feelings.

Lead By Following

Yes, you read right- Following. Read, absorb, discover, and explore what other great leaders have done and learn from them. BE the leader through credible track-making. Yes, it’s good to break new ground, and entrepreneurs thirst for that opportunity, but recognize that great people have risen to the top for a reason. Learn from them and lead with confidence.

Integrity Is Key

Don’t hold back the truth. Treat your team like the adults they are and build confidence and trust by sharing the ups and downs. It’s always a good idea to share positive growth and to bring challenges to the forefront. Steps, then, can be taken to work through the challenges.

It’s also important to admit your own mistakes when they (inevitably) occur. Sharing what went wrong and how you plan to improve will not only strengthen your team, it will also build trust and respect in you as a leader.

Revisit Your Vision and Mission

If you’ve lost sight of either or both of these, I guarantee your team has lost sight of them as well. A great leader helps his or her team focus on the goal, and carrying out that vision is what your mission is all about. Make sure your team understands what the vision and mission are, and clarify each step that leads to those goals. Create a plan “walking through” each step, including tracking who’s doing what and when.

Prioritize

Then re-prioritize your priorities. Don’t sweep challenges under the rug. Make them a priority, and when they have been overcome, re-prioritize and tackle the next challenge.

It’s also important to make sure that your focus is on growth. A business that doesn’t grow will perish. This is especially crucial if your company has been around for a long time and is struggling to adapt to all the changes. While it may seem sufficient to simply keep up with everyone else, stagnating can be just as dangerous as declining.

Focus on Your Team’s Strengths

Each individual on your team has positive and negative qualities. Build on the positive. If you have a team member that excels in one area and falls short in another, task them in areas where they excel. Another team member might excel in areas where another is weak. Build each individual’s potential by focusing on their positive attributes.

Reduce Stress

This is another thing that’s probably easier said than done, but stress can kill – literally. Stress need not be a negative thing IF you recognize it as a signal for a need for change.

Change does not have to be a bad thing. Eat healthy things. Yes, exercise. And when things do get stressful (and they will) focus on the root of that stress. Then take the steps to change the things that aren’t working so that the things that are working have a chance to flourish and grow.

Put Your Ego to Rest

You might know you’re right, and maybe you are, but as the expression goes, even a broken clock is right twice a day. A confident, motivation-driven leader knows when to admit he or she is wrong, and also knows when to support members of the team when they are right.

Final Thoughts to Motivate Your Team

Your team is your greatest asset as a company, and nothing can be accomplished without them. But a team that isn’t motivated to do their best work is essentially useless.

Motivating your employees every day can be challenging and is something that needs to be planned rather than considered as a last ditch effort when things start to fall apart. But with a motivated team eager to grow the company, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.

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William Lipovsky owns the personal finance website First Quarter Finance. His most embarrassing moment was telling a Microsoft executive, "I'll just Google it."

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