A lot of employees find that motivation drags most in the weeks after Christmas holidays. To get the new year off to a positive start, you need to have powerful motivation strategies in place. For most people, this doesn’t mean pep talks; when those work at all, their influence wears off pretty quickly. Instead, use these five tested techniques:
1. Listen to the people on your team & tell/show you value them.
The relationship between an employee and their direct manager is the most important factor that influences engagement and motivation. If it is an open and honest relationship, that sets the tone for everything that goes on in the workplace. Listening to the people who work with you is a big part of that. This means listening when they have concerns as well as being open to their ideas. When the people around you feel like they are heard, they feel like they are valued, as well.
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2. Learn what motivates each team member.
Some people really thrive on praise and feedback. Others are all about responsibility and freedom to get things done. Still others want a workplace where they feel that work/life balance is prized and protected. Learn what makes everyone you work with tick. By learning how they work and what drives them to do a job well, you can craft an environment that helps them be their best. Learning can come from a combination of closed-door, one on one meetings, surveys and questionnaires and simply observing people in action to see how they work best and what they respond to.
3. Make group goals.
Instead of always working to motivate each team member individually, create goals that everyone can work toward together. Make sure that everyone knows their roles and their responsibilities — remember, when more than one person is responsible for something, that can mean that no one is. Each person needs specific tasks and a way to check them off for accountability.
Goals should be broken down into milestones, short term goals and long term ones. Meet regularly to see where everyone is and what they need for the next steps or the bigger picture. Think about rewards for steps along the way. This combination of short and long term provides some reward for each step while helping keep focus on the larger, long term goal, which can help prevent fatigue. Making it easy for people to see small accomplishments help them drive toward larger ones and helps boost emotional and mental health at work.
4. Give team members responsibility.
People feel happiest at work when they know that they are important to an enterprise’s success. By giving people responsibility and the freedom to complete the work the way they want, it can help them take ownership of what they are doing. Allow different people to take leadership positions at different times. For instance, instead of a manager always leading meetings, ask different individuals on your staff to take charge. This allows different people to shape the discussion, giving you a variety of points of view. And, when this happens, people feel that their contributions are more important and are more likely to feel motivated about making them happen.
5. Show your team the bigger picture.
When people are just tasked with little pieces of the whole goal, their feeling about their importance might feel small, too. There is no value in deciding that information about the larger goals is over someone’s pay grade. Make sure that everyone knows what their contribution means to the success of the whole. Update regularly about how each of their tasks and projects works toward the organization’s bigger success.
This sort of transparency means that people know that the work they are doing means something. It helps them understand the value that they bring to the project. When people understand that, they feel more empowered and invested at work. They will do better work and feel more motivation each day to do it.
Keeping a team motivated is an ongoing task. It’s more than a few meetings or buzzwords. It comes down to a constant dedication to being the sort of leader who brings the best out of people. While that’s a big job, these are a few simple policies and actions to put into place to start. These and other tips to motivate your team can help make the coming new year a productive and fulfilling year.