Below, I offer 10 tips which you can implement at a team level to further create a highly motivated team.
1. Create a high-trust environment
People perform best in high-trust environments where they feel safe, secure and respected by you and other people around them. So prioritize your team members and show them that their welfare is important to you. The worst thing you can do is to ignore your team, mistrust it or criticize its members.
2. Praise people for a job well done
People respond well to praise, encouragement, recognition and being thanked. When you let others know that they are appreciated, they will want to give you their best. Be generous with praise for a job well done, and say thank you when someone helps you or does something for the team.
3. Act as a mentor rather than a micromanager
Encourage and empower team members to research problems and make decisions on their own. Mentor them and lead them on the way rather than telling them what to do. Adjust your level of direction depending on how capable each person is to work independently. When you give away some of your power your team will take on more responsibility and will be motivated to grow and learn.
4. Encourage a culture of communication and contribution
Every person has ideas and opinions they want to share. Set up forums and initiate activities to give your team members a chance to share their knowledge and contribute to the project. Welcome feedback at all levels and show appreciation of good ideas by taking action and implementing them.
5. Hold regular team meetings
Hold regular team meetings where you share the outcome of board meetings and major decisions that affect the project’s direction, goals and vision. Remember, that every interaction with the team is an opportunity to listen and to strengthen your working relationship. It is also a great opportunity to motivate and inspire people, so make sure you speak with passion and confidence.
6. Pick your battles, and forgive small mistakes
We all make mistakes, whether we see it or not. No one is perfect. Depending on the nature of a mistake made by a team member, consider letting it go with just a small comment or no comment at all. If someone has ever let you off after you made a small error, you know how motivating it can be to have another opportunity to justify that person’s faith in you.
7. Hold people accountable for serious mistakes
Be brave and confident enough to hold a team member accountable for bigger mistakes or behavior that is detrimental to the project. Provide feedback to the team member as soon as practical and base it on facts. Be as specific about the problem as you can and give concrete examples of why you are concerned. The more specific you are, the more likely it is that the team member will receive your feedback as it is intended.
8. Establish clear performance standards and expectations
Make sure that every team member has clear and attainable goals and that everyone knows exactly what needs to be accomplished. Make the goals SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely), and strive to align them with the team members’ personal aspirations. A goal will only be truly motivating and engaging if it is linked to the individual’s aims and purposes.
9. Provide good tools and facilities
Do your best to make sure that team members have an optimal working environment and that the tools and information they need are available. Put yourself in their shoes. Which tools, facilities and information would you need if you were doing what they do? Ask the team for feedback. What is working and what is not? What would help them work more effectively?
10. Give team members training and education
Projectsoften require people to work in domains they do not know much about. Organize training and knowledge-sharing programs for your team. Ask the end users or business owners to talk about their jobs and the business. These presentations will increase the team’s knowledge, improve motivation and contribute to successful delivery of the project.
Reflection: On a scale from 1-10, how would you score yourself on each of the ten motivational tips above? What can you do to improve the way you motivate your team?
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