As someone in a leadership position, motivating your team is one of your most important tasks. After all, motivation boosts productivity, workplace morale, and reduces turnover. That's a win-win-win if you ask.
One of the most overlooked ways to motivate your team is through communication. Through effective communication your employees feel more empowered. It also gives them a sense of belonging, camaraderie and responsibility.
Most importantly, when the lines of communication are open, your employees feel comfortable with the relationship they have with you. In return, their motivation improves.
Instead of overlooking communication as a motivator, start embracing these techniques.
Schedule communication-oriented meetings.
This is a weekly meeting that has no purpose other than opening-up the lines of communication between you and your employees. As such, it gives your employees the sense that you not only care about their opinions, but also value their feedback. In these meetings, make sure that you open the floor to any questions, concerns, and opinions.
Don't hesitate in sharing stories of your successes and failures. This can help pick-up the spirits of a specific team member who needs a boost. It also creates a level of engagement and builds a community since everyone on your team can to those experiences.
Keep everyone in the loop.
As Sir Francis Bacon once said, "Knowledge is power."
When you communicate effectively with your team you're empowering them in not only their decision-making while, but also building trust and loyalty. Be honest and transparent with them when there are any important decisions and changes within the organization that's going to influence their job.
For example, if the workplace is being renovated, and employees may now have to share offices, let them know in advance. This way you can address any issues before you start assigning office-mates.
Simply put, don't spin the truth. It will prevent your team from feeling like they've been blind-sided, which is a great way for them to not trust you going forward.
Show interest in concerns and solutions.
What if an employee expresses unhappiness with that new office-mate? Ask what you can do to help address the issue. Is there someone else they would rather share an office with?
It's a simple way to show your commitment to solving your employees' problems, which in makes them feel valued.
Again, going back to the office renovation. Make sure that you explain and understand their frustrations but also describe how the renovations will improve the workplace. Empathizing with your employees, along with being transparent during this timeframe, will keep the workplace positive.
Encourage employee input.
You need to schedule time for your team to brainstorm and offer their input. This means that your communication plan is consistent about how and when these opportunities occur. This way everyone is ready to generate ideas and participate in the discussion.
In most cases, employees want to solve problems since it gives them a chance to feel listened to.
Keep the lines open.
The leading cause of low morale could be anything from a toxic work environment to rumours of 'cut backs.' If you don't want these issues to fester, you need to recognize and discuss them.
This lets your employees know that you're open with communicating to them. And, as a result, they'll feel more comfortable in coming to you whenever there's a problem.
Set clear directions and stick to it.
Communication needs to reinforce direction and provide a strategy for what your team is attempting to accomplish. Good communicators employ key methods of communication to keep employees on course with the overall strategy, as well as goals to carry it out.
Deliver frequent feedback.
Another way to increase engagement is to deliver frequent feedback. According to Mark Murphy on Forbes, "Around nine out of ten managers have avoided giving constructive feedback to their employees for fear of the employees reacting poorly." As a result, only 29 percent of employees say they "always" know whether their performance is where it should be.
To resolve this issue, provide frequent feedback so that small issues don't snowball into bigger issues. When you do, employees will be more than happy to jump in and fix the problem.
Here's one exercise Murphy suggests to do;
"Ask your employees how often they would like to receive feedback from you about their performance. Ask them if they'd like to get feedback yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly or even daily."
"I can virtually guarantee that no good employees will say they want feedback yearly; that's way too infrequent. Hardly anyone will say quarterly, for the same reason. Most good employees will choose monthly or weekly, with some high-achiever types opting for daily."
After you've discovered how frequent your team wants feedback, provide that feedback frequently.
Diversify your communication plan.
Do you have remote employees? If so, then develop ideas for reaching those employees. For example, you could vary communication between in-person meetings, podcasts or webinars, quick phone calls, or e-mail blasts.
Since everyone on your team is unique, this gives everyone the chance to communicate through their preferred communication methods.
Keep communications positive.
Instead of threatening or belittling an employee for poor performance in front of everyone, offer rewards and opportunities for improvement. When an employee feels attacked, you can be certain that their motivation is going to suffer.
But, when there's a reward or opportunity to grow, they're going to feel more galvanized.