As companies start to head into the fourth quarter of 2022, keeping focus can be a challenge for team leaders.
Do you ever wish those working with you would jump in and do what they need without constant urging? Perhaps you just want them to be impassioned about the project at hand. Motivating your team requires attention to detail and putting yourself in the shoes of your staff.
What Is the Best Way to Motivate Your Team?
Gallup's State of the Global Workplace report around 65 percent of workers aren't engaged fully. If you can find ways to keep employees interested, they’ll naturally be more motivated to do their best work.
Here are eight ways to motivate your team, even as we enter Q4 and all the distractions of the holiday season.
1. Vary Incentives.
Give your team members different incentives or let them choose. Not everyone wants a restaurant gift card. Some won’t appreciate flowers or chocolate. Instead of assuming everyone enjoys a specific type of prize, vary what you give out or let them choose from different options.
2. Be Aware of Fair Schedules.
The United States and some other developed countries are struggling to fill open positions. There are many reasons for the Great Resignation and why people leave their jobs, including residual effects from the pandemic.
Congress is looking at a Schedules That Work Act to help combat some of the issues workers face. However, you don't have to wait for legislation to implement these fair practices.
They include the right to request schedule changes, reducing last-minute scheduling changes, bonus pay if schedules change without notification, and a minimum rest time between shifts.
3. Reward With Time Off.
More than ever before, people value a good work/life balance. Many younger employees won’t consider a position without ample paid time off (PTO). Did your team just finish a huge project, working more hours than normal? Reward their dedication with a long weekend with PTO on Friday and Monday.
When you help your employees prioritize their mental health by taking time off without guilt, you wind up with happier, more productive workers. Nearly everyone appreciates extra time off without losing pay, so you’ll make everyone happy.
4. Develop Relationships.
Have you ever had a boss you felt truly cared about your well-being? More than likely, you were more inclined to work your behind off for that person to please them. You should let your employees know you care about them on a personal as well as professional level.
Go to their kids’ birthday parties. Take them to lunch and ask them how life is treating them. Talk to them about their personal hopes and dreams, family, and anything else you can think of to forge relationships.
You might worry about crossing a professional boundary. As long as you don’t give unsolicited advice or butt in where you aren’t wanted, you should be fine. If you feel you may be overstepping your bounds, be open and ask your staff how you’re doing and if you need to change anything.
5. Offer Remote Options.
Experts predict that 25 percent of all jobs will be remote by 2023. The pandemic forced many workers to do their tasks from home. They soon realized the many advantages of telecommuting, including spending less on fuel and lunches out.
People are often more productive without the interruptions of a typical office environment. They find they have a better work-life balance with rolling start times. Need to get the kids to daycare and then start the day? No problem when you can shift your start and end times by a few hours.
6. Send Motivational Messages.
Little words of encouragement can spur your team to keep plugging along even when they’re busy with holiday family commitments and a big project is due. You could even send them a note about how many days are left until their next break or paid holiday.
You can also use visuals to spur them on. Start a chart showing their progress toward a big goal and mark off tasks as they’re completed.
7. Share Your Vision
If you just tell people what to do and don’t talk to them about the big-picture finished product, they may be less likely to get on board. Think about what you hope to accomplish when the task is done and share those details with your team.
You might even want to encourage them to finish the year strong so you can head into Q1 with strength and feeling a sense of accomplishment. Think about the leaders you’ve known who inspired you. How did they do it? What about their approach made you want to catch their enthusiasm?
You can also survey your team and ask them what they like or dislike about your management style. Allow responses to be anonymous so you get honest feedback. Change what you can to better adapt to your team’s needs.
8. Trust Your Team.
One of the best things you can do to motivate your team is to show employees you trust them. If you’ve trained each person to the best of their ability, they know what to do and when. You can’t micromanage every second of their day.
One worker shared a story about a boss who would stand over her shoulder and watch her while she typed. She was adept at her job and felt as though the team leader didn’t trust her. She wound up leaving the job for a different one because she didn’t feel valued or trusted.
Know that those on your team have special skills and know what to do with them to accomplish a task. If they need additional guidance, create an open-door policy so they feel they can come to you for additional direction. Trusting them helps build their confidence and creates a team that works together efficiently without constant input from you.
Bonus: Ask What Motivates Them.
Try the techniques above and you’ll see a team thriving in Q4. You should also ask your workers what you can do to motivate them to do their best. What type of work environment do they prefer? Making small adjustments and listening to their expectations helps you be the best team leader possible. In turn, you’ll empower them to be productive employees excelling in their roles.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a prominent digital marketing agency prior to becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philadelphia with her husband and pup, Bear.