Motivating your team isn't a one-time occurrence. It's something that you have to do on a daily basis. Of course, when you have a full-plate that's easier said than done.
The good news is that no matter how busy you are, there are always ways to make time for motivating your team. Here are a few things that I do to make time to motivate my team on a regular basis.
Make a plan.
The best way to make the time to motivate your team is by first jotting down a written plan. I try to do this on a quarterly basis so I don't forget. Mark it on your calendar. This plan doesn't have to be extremely in-depth. It really should focus on your reviewing your schedule so that you know when you do have the time to motivate your team.
For example, if you notice that you have a free chunk of time on Friday mornings from 10 a.m. to noon, then use that period to provide feedback or ask your team questions.
After going over your schedule, don't forget to enter that into your calendar as a repeat event. This way you'll make sure that this becomes of your routine.
Block out time for support, value, recognition, and encouragement.
Once you've made a plan, and reviewed your schedule, you should also block out specific blocks of time daily for:
This involves anything from forgiving team member for past mistakes to providing directions so that they can fix mistakes. Showing support also includes rewarding team members who deserve it and actively listening to your team.
Valuing your team.
Providing value isn't as complex as you may think. It's taking the time to get to know your team and making sure they know their role. One important part of demonstrating value is respecting your team's private life and emphasizing a work-life balance.
Providing recognition and encouragement.
This is pretty straightforward. Simply saying "thanks" and showing your appreciation are effective ways in providing recognition. You could also give shoutouts in your monthly newsletter or host a monthly award ceremony.
Additionally, you should also give them words of encouragement. It's a simple way to show that you believe in them.
Schedule regular walk-throughs.
Walkthroughs are a popular tactic among leaders. This is where they leave and actually stroll through the workplace. Doing so gives leaders a chance to socialize, address any concerns, and show that they're also in the trenches.
"My job is to walk through the kitchen. My job is to go talk to the sales people. My job is to just touch the people that work here," says Jim Horan, CEO of Blue Plate Catering.
"It's just walking around and kibitzing and finding out how people are doing and following up on stuff and asking people about their family. Telling people what a great job they're doing."
Ideally, you should schedule a walk-through at least once a day. These aren't to show your power, but show that you care and are there to help.
Establish a "half-open door" policy.
"I think the unqualified open door is an invitation to organizational turmoil. What I think is much better policy is a 'half-open door,' says Karen Baetzel, CEO of BattleAxe Consulting and who was also Commanding Officer in the Navy.
I live by Baetzel's council. Baetzel explains that this meant you could only come to her:
Even if this doesn't work for you, you should only keep the door open at pre-set times. This way you aren't constantly interrupted. More importantly, it keeps you in control. You may find that between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. is an ideal time to have your door open since after lunch you're using that time to respond to emails or phone calls.
Hold weekly one-on-one meetings.
Another way to get around the open-door policy is by holding one-on-one meetings every week. This could be simply a Monday morning meeting where you ask a team member how their weekend was. The most important things to remember is that these should be pre-scheduled and focused solely on the employee.
On top of these weekly one-on-ones, don't forget to schedule weekly team meetings, monthly division meetings, and town hall type meetings every quarter.
Socialize on the move.
It's no secret that exercise improves work productivity. This is because it increases alertness, energy, and keeps us healthy both mentally and physically. All of this keeps motivation at an optimal level.
While encouraging your team to stay physically active is an excellent start, you can also use them time to get to know them. For instance, while riding exercise bikes next to each other you could have a conversation about each other's home lives or what unique skills they possess.
This a fun way to actually get to know your team. And, it seems more natural then randomly asking them questions via email, phone calls, office pop-ins, or surveys.
As a leader one of the most important tasks you'll learn is how to delegate effectively. That's because it will save you time so that you can achieve more. But, delegation is also beneficial for your team members.
When you delegate certain tasks to them, it increases their self-esteem, job satisfaction, and can even help them develop new skills. All of these factors are important when motivating others. This is because it shows that you trust them, while providing room to grow.
Best of all? Delegation doesn't take much time out of your schedule.
Stop emailing after hours.
As someone who relies on remote workers, I can vouch for how amazing it is to contact a team member whenever you want. At the same time, there needs to be strict guidelines in place. This means not bombarding your team during "off-hours."
The reason? Emailing your team 24/7 has become a main source of their stress. In fact, this has become such an epidemic that France created a law that bars work emails after hours.
Unless it's a dire emergency, don't contact your employees when they're off the clock. It will keep them from getting stressed out, which will ensure that they'll stay motivated. Instead, make it a point to only email them during business hours.