Here’s a tricky topic, so let’s waste no time and dive right in.
The most efficient – and most profitable – businesses out there are the ones that have a highly motivated team of staff. In large, this motivation has been set by the executive level, who push consistently high expectations of their high-performance teams. These expectations shouldn’t be unobtainable pipe-dreams but should remain steeped in a perpetual push for higher standards and performance of the business.
So then, what happens when someone in the team isn’t performing as expected, or falling behind the high expectations the executive team has set?
No. I am a firm believer that motivating and encouraging employees is extremely important for both the team and the business. Not every staff member will naturally have high motivation to execute their job. Therefore it is up to you the employer to boost their morale and motivation throughout the office. It’s also important to give staff members an idea of the business’ culture, and management expectations, as well as to instill a clear picture of how staff members fit into the business. The business has a responsibility to give a clear idea of its strategic direction and big-picture goals to the employees. Once you’ve communicated this to your employees, they will feel more of a responsibility to the business which in return is a psychological strategy to help motivate employees.
Effective ways to motivate your staff
There is a fine line to toe here, but strong leadership and effective management tools will help you find that line between getting the best from your staff, and pushing them over the edge. Leading by example is a crucial part of motivating staff, and is an effective way to instill motivation in your team.
As the employee grows and begins to achieve the motivational standards set by the business, encouragement is crucial. In order for the business to achieve long-term success, they need to reward and acknowledge the hard work being put in by their staff. Working in a highly motivated environment can be a draining lifestyle, therefore providing a team lunch each week is great way to keep the team motivated. This gives the employees a chance to relax whilst being in the work environment, it also helps employees’ job satisfaction as they enjoy their time spent at work. This is a simple way that a business can acknowledge and thank its employees for maintaining high motivation standards.
Another effective way to motivate staff is through team-building exercises. Harvard studies have shown that highly motivated teams consistently conduct team-building exercises and to help staff build trust with their peers. One specific activity that helps build this trust is a simple morning coffee walk with your team. This allows team members see the bigger picture of their jobs whilst also building deeper connections with each other. The more that employees trust each other, the more willing they are to stay motivated and not let down the team. This is a big motivating factor.
However, If a member still doesn’t help themselves and fails to pick up and use the tools they’ve been given to achieve their best, the responsibility of a failure still remains on the team not just the individual. You can help them as much as you like, but if they don’t want to help themselves, it’s a losing battle, and time to trim the fat. It’s tough, I know, and undoubtedly one of my least favourite aspects of doing business, but if emotions cloud your judgment, you’ll never become the best business
Let’s use the analogy of a top-performing sports team: be it an NFL team, Rugby, or English Premier League football team. Picture just how cut-throat the road to becoming a star player on any of these teams is and the motivation needed to succeed. The road is paved with the remains of players that just haven’t done well enough. To me, this metaphor is perfectly apt, as the business world is often just as competitive – if not more so – than the sporting world.
The executive team in a business acts as the coaching staff on the team, setting a clear set of objectives, outlining the structure of the team, identifying vacancies, strengths, and weaknesses, and in turn pushing employees in areas of need. Coaching staff on sports teams are looking to help motivate the players in order to just ‘want’ to excel in their sport.
There is a reason that some athletes make it and others don’t. It all comes down to motivation. The more motivated athletes go on to become superstars and the less motivated become no names. This is similar when it comes to your business. Without a motivated team, a business will not exceed its competitors and could eventually fail. Every high-level sporting team has an even larger team of coaches, mentors, physios, and analytic staff that have one job: to keep the team motivated and focussed on the next goal, on their journey to continual improvement. Your business needs to do the same, and your management team needs to offer your staff every opportunity to improve themselves both personally and professionally, as both will trickle down into better performance at work.
I’ve kept many of these lessons firmly imprinted in my brain as Best Practice Certification has expanded. I’ve been taking every effort possible to fill up my team with A-players. Admittedly, some of the staff we’ve taken in might not have initially made the A-team, but they showed every intention to improve themselves, and that commitment is equally as impressive as it is admirable. You want to fill up your team with human beings that bring to the table an inherent, intrinsic ambition; exactly what helps to transform a business from mediocre to outstanding.
Thankfully, as it stands, robots aren’t capable of that… yet. So it’s important not to underestimate the capabilities of your team members, and remember that it remains your responsibility to give them every opportunity possible to improve themselves, and the business they’re working in. If they don’t take you up on the opportunities you’ve presented them, or fail to give you that fair exchange, it remains contrary to the interests of your business to keep them on board.