If you've spent any time on LinkedIn, you'll notice that one of the more commonly shared sentiments is that people don't leave a position due to unhappiness with a company, but rather due to the way their team leader is treating them. Although teams are always striving to attract new talent, it is just as important to retain the talented individuals that are already a part of your workforce. One of the most effective ways to ensure that your team members remain such is to take steps to make sure they feel like they are a significant and important part of your team. This leaves many managers and team leaders questioning, How do I make my team feel significant and important?
Although we are all motivated by different things there are some general steps you can take to make sure each of your team members is confident in their importance.
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1. Recognize their accomplishments and the effort that they put into their work
It is important that you do this both individually and publicly. An individual conversation will allow you to discuss the team member's accomplishments and create a space for constructive criticism. Additionally, team leaders can use this time to discuss goals and aspirations with team members. Public recognition will signal to your team member that you not only recognize their accomplishments but are proud of them. By acknowledging and appreciating individual team members publicly the team as a whole will understand that they will receive recognition for their work.
2. Connect with your team members and understand their aspirations
It is important that your team members feel that you care about them as individuals outside of what they accomplish at work. Take time to get to know each team member and their aspirations for their professional and personal life. Team leaders can accomplish this through a private conversation, or by listening to the things that your team members say on a daily basis.
3. Invest in the success of your team members
One of the best ways to show your team members that you have been listening to them and want to see them succeed is to actually spend time contemplating ways that you can aid them in achieving their goals, and then sharing your thoughts. This may manifest itself in giving your team member a project or task that will give them relevant experience for their goals, or devising an action plan with the team member on making their experience with the team a valuable one.
4. Show your confidence in their abilities by designating projects or tasks to each team member
Don't discourage your team members by only giving projects to a select few. This will communicate to your team members that they are not qualified enough to complete a task, or that they are not worthy of an opportunity to expand their experience. By displacing workload evenly, your team members will not only work more efficiently but they will feel motivated by your confidence in their abilities and willingness to allow them to grow.
5. Give your team members incentive to continue performing well
Ultimately what will make your team members feel appreciated above all else is compensation. Although we've been discussing ways that a team leader can acknowledge their team members through their actions, compensating your team members through a raise in pay or bonus is most likely the strongest way to show your appreciation. Keep in mind that compensation without action is not enough to retain team members--if a team member is unhappy or stifled then no amount of money will keep them on your team for an extended period of time.
By enacting these steps with each team member daily, the team environment will evolve into one of support and mutual achievement. Rather than feeling like they are working for you, your team members will feel like they are bettering themselves and aiding the team simultaneously. This is the ideal team environment, and will ensure that your staff members feel valued and will be more likely to stay with your organization.