How Do You Motivate?
One of the important things I learned when researching my first book The Inspiring Leader is that many leaders lack the ability to really inspire and motivate others. I’d even say we learned as much about what not to do and what backfires in addition to what works. No matter how long you’ve been a manager, knowing how to motivate each person on a team is challenging and even frustrating. Many companies try to implement unruly performance management and incentive structures. But, team motivation usually boils down to skilled leadership with strategies and tactics that are unique to members of your team. Here are the 3 tips for being more effective and motivating as a leader.
- Help your employees find meaning. Help them to see how their work contributes to the broader picture. When people leave for the day feeling good about what they did, they are more motivated and committed. Through your own actions, set the standard for how your team can bring this sense of value to their work.
- Demonstrate appreciation. When you praise an employee in front of others, you reinforce desired behavior and performance. It also encourages others to do the same to earn their shot at better results or recognition. Share why their contributions matter. Being controlling, negative, or inspiring fear of failure is not a sustainable (or healthy) way to inspire a team.
- Invite open discussion – especially dissenting opinions. The success of your team is highly dependent on a strong two-way street of trust and communication between your team members and yourself. Build trust by encouraging disagreement with you, asking for opinions on what you may be missing, and then carefully listening and reflecting on what you are told. Sometimes the most important information and ideas come from those who see things differently from us. Be open to input and feedback and then be ready to put it into action. If team members don’t trust you, they may feel expendable and less motivated.
Being a leader comes with a lot of responsibility and it’s easy for us to think about motivating employees as something extra and even taking us away from all we need to get done. But don’t let this essential task get lost in the shuffle. Motivated and inspired teams are critical to success, and the effort is well worth the investment.
We are coming up on performance review season – typically occurring at the end of the calendar year or the start of a new one. This year, they may look a little different. In the era of pandemic-induced remote work, how do you review someone who can’t do their job the way they’re accustomed to doing it? Here are a few trends:
- This HBR article says that many companies have ditched their annual performance reviews for the year, and are instead utilizing more frequent feedback touch points (like monthly or quarterly check-ins). I’ve observed that the more-frequent touch points are actually more effective because feedback is delivered in a timelier fashion.
- XpertHR predicts many companies will not evaluate employees on performance indicators hindered by the pandemic like revenue generation or sales closed. Instead, companies will evaluate employees on indicators less impacted by the pandemic, like lead generation or client continuity.
- The Society for Human Resource Management details in this article how companies can focus on internal employee performance and evaluate skills including flexibility, creativity or change management. External factors like the economy can’t be controlled, but internal factors such as how individuals and teams work together can be.
At the end of the day, evaluations are intended to measure achievements toward goals and help employees grow. In such a disruptive year, consider if your performance evaluation process needs to be adjusted.
With 2021 on the horizon, I thought this article was a refreshing, big-picture perspective on maintaining a growth mindset following a turbulent year.