How to motivate your team members when times are tough

I concur that organisations need to create the conditions that enhance individual motivation and that, most likely, the conditions that have caused people to appear ‘de-motivated’ now were present well before the economic downturn.

My research and experience has clearly indicated that there are a number of factors that leaders/manager can control that can enhance the conditions where individual motivation has a chance to be raised.

  1. Let people know what is going on – be honest
  2. Remind people of where you are going and how what you are doing now is going to get you there (Vision and strategy)
  3. Recognise people for their efforts – be genuine when doing this else it will backfire
  4. To the best of your ability ensure that people are doing work that engages their talents – this assumes, of course, that you have spent the time working out what their talents are in the first place (if you haven’t done this yet, then this too is an opportunity)
  5. Create opportunities for your people to contribute to finding and implementing ways to help the company ‘turn things around’ – Low Risk Projects are a great way to do this (a Low Risk Project is one that has minimal financial or brand risk associated with it, but a big upside if it comes off)
  6. This builds on number 5 above – continue to create developmental opportunities for your people – how smart can you be with you existing budget line items so that you can stay within budget yet still create developmental opportunities for your people to develop themselves? E.g. you probably can’t pay people more, yet you might be able to send some on a conference (that would be relevant to them and their role of course)
  7. Listen to what they have to say and implement (where possible) their suggestions – then let everyone know that you have implemented a suggestion from whoever suggested it – this proves that you have listened
  8. Trust people to do their job – there is not much more de-motivating that someone unnecessarily looking over your shoulder
  9. Give people honest feedback on their performance – what are they doing well, what could they improve on and what could they start doing that they are not currently doing
  10. Re-enforce the value of what they are doing and how it is helping the company get back on track.

These 10 suggestions are all within the control of each manager/leader and in my view are absolutely doable.

What have you been doing to motivate your team members?

How could you use this article to catalyse Conversations That Matter® within your organisation?

Gary Ryan enables individuals, teams and organisations to matter.
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