Last week, I held a training series inside a Facebook Group to support managers like you with the current challenges we’re facing.
One thing stood out to me in particular; many of the participants were asking about how to keep their employees motivated.
So I wanted to share a brief but important concept with you here as well because a virtual happy hour for your team isn’t the answer to this question.
To feel motivated even during times of emotional and economic pressure, your team members need to believe the following 4 things:
1. I’m cared for, valued and respected within my team.
2. I want to do this work.
3. I can do this work.
4. I’ll be fairly assessed for my performance.
If one or more of these are off, then motivation starts to tumble.
While these are beliefs that your team members must hold, you have a huge influence on them, be this during a crisis or not.
Let’s dive into each.
1) I’m cared for, valued and respected within my team.
This is the first and core belief that drives employee motivation as it addresses basic human needs. Yet, in my work as a leadership coach, I hear way too many stories about toxic, disrespectful work relationships that have a huge impact on morale, motivation, and engagement.
What you can do:
- Focus on supporting your team members above anything else. This is the time for heart-driven, compassionate leadership.
- Communicate as often and as transparently as you can.
- Praise and appreciate your employees as often as you can. Be specific and be personal when you do it.
- Encourage appreciation among the people on your team. A simple way to do this is to go around the (virtual) room in your team meetings and for each person to recognize a personal accomplishment and to appreciate someone else for an action they took or success they had the previous week.
- Ask for ideas, suggestions, and feedback and listen!
2) I want to do this work.
If the work itself is not meaningful or rewarding to an employee or if an employee has a conflicting interest, then this can reduce motivation.
What you can do:
- Connect their work to the bigger mission and vision of your team and the company.
- Remember… people understand the WHAT if they understand the WHY.
- Explain and show the impact their work has on others.
- Ask each team member which tasks and responsibilities they enjoy most and enjoy least about their job and why. If possible, offer them opportunities to expand the work they do enjoy.
3) I can do this.
When an employee feels that they’ve been given unclear or unrealistic expectations, motivation usually drops. The same is true when someone is frequently criticized which leads the person to believe that they don’t have what it takes to be successful in their job.
What you can do:
- Set clear and realistic expectations and communicate those frequently.
- Provide ownership and let them know that you believe in their ability to figure it out, to handle it, or to solve it, etc. You showing your belief in them is a huge motivator.
- When an employee comes to you with a problem, ask questions first. See if they can come up with an answer or solution themselves before you jump in to give advice. For someone to fully own the solution is empowering and motivating.
4) I’ll be fairly assessed for my performance.
If we’re working in an environment where we feel our contribution isn’t fairly assessed and people get praised, compensated or promoted without good and valid reasons then we may not see why we should be putting in the extra effort.
What you can do:
- Make sure that you treat people fairly based on their efforts and results and not based on your personal preferences.
- Communicate reasons for promotions, assignments or other perks if you feel that your choice may not make sense to others to avoid perceived lack of fairness.
- Share success stories about how people put in the work and achieved a great outcome.
Of course, people are also motivated by external factors such as salaries and perks but that’s just the tip of the iceberg and usually pretty short-lived.
To develop a truly motivated team that adapts and stays engaged even during difficult times, you’ll need to tap into the intrinsic motivators we just talked about.
If your team can rise above the rest in times of turmoil, your performance will stand out and your internal or external customers will love you and trust you more than ever before.
And if you’re like many of my clients and team support, employee motivation, and productivity are on top of mind for you right now as you’re navigating this crisis together with your team, then know that I can help.
I’ve created a specific 4-week program that will help you and your team to successfully navigate through this crisis and come out of it as a stronger, more connected and more motivated team. Plus, it will help you rise as a leader who grew stronger, more resilient and more trusted during a time when others struggle.
Schedule a short call with me here to learn more and find out if this is the right fit for you. Either way, I promise you that you’ll leave the call with new ideas and more clarity on what to focus on with your team.