Team Motivation Part of Day-to-Day Business

Winnipeg Free Press, February 9, 2013 | Go to article overview

Team Motivation Part of Day-to-Day Business


In order to create and sustain team motivation, it needs to be a matter of constant focus.

Think of it like coaching your team for a marathon. This would require training on a daily basis in order to build stamina and reach optimum fitness levels. It's simply not enough to offer short, infrequent spurts of intense training activity and hope it will take them the distance.

Many leaders make the mistake of thinking team motivation is separate from or somehow less important than conducting day-to-day-business. They may put it on the back burner, believing that there will be plenty of time to work on morale and team building after the bottom line is achieved.

The truth is, both need to happen simultaneously. A motivated team gives your organization a competitive edge, just as it can be the leverage needed to convert ideas into action. It's entirely possible for employees to be engaged and able to deliver great customer service when they are being assured of a reason to do so. That happens when they work inside an environment that encourages them to remain or become motivated.

Whoa -- become motivated? I can hear the naysayers now. "How can I possibly motivate employees who aren't already self-motivated? After all, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink." Yes, that's true. The catalyst for motivation does come from within, and not all employees will be equally disciplined or desirous enough to be self-motivated.

However, as a manager, you must recognize that motivation is also greatly influenced by external factors, including environment. And that is something you have control over. A healthy work environment has a balance of self-motivation and team motivation, both of which a good leader can inspire while promoting productivity and progress.

An environment that is conducive for team motivation should look something like this:

-- Employees should be able to work free of fear. This includes concern that if they don't perform to the boss's high standards they will be fired, as well as worry that if they report any wrongdoing they will be retaliated against.

-- Everyone should get to know those they work with as a person, not only a fellow employee. This helps empathy, understanding and appreciation to develop naturally.

-- Encourage employees to carry out random acts of kindness in the office and in the community. This may mean that you'll have to get the ball rolling, but once it takes off, it's a great way to break down barriers and improve morale.

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