When you become a team leader, you move from a task-based role to a management-based role. While you probably still work on projects, much more of your time is most likely spent focusing on the big picture and keeping your team on task. Unfortunately, sometimes people can get burnt out or otherwise lose motivation. Here are the best ways to keep your team motivated and strong.
Communication is critical to building and maintaining a strong team. Your expectations should be very clear. Continue to be open and honest with your team. Regular updates to people at all levels, good or bad, can help keep a team on track. Communication is a two-way street, so make sure your employees feel comfortable talking to you.
Trust Your Team
You hopefully have a group of employees that you trust to do their jobs well. Build their motivation by letting them know you trust them. Get them involved in new projects and give them more responsibilities when they’re ready to let them know you think they’re capable. Empower them to take on new roles and trust that they can do it well.
Give Them Purpose
People like knowing why they’re doing something, especially when it’s something bigger than themselves. Instead of doing something just because it’s their job, let them know why the task you assign them is important. A research project may seem boring and useless to a junior-level employee at first glance, but it becomes a lot more interesting when they know how that research will be used. Let them in on the big picture and explain why their task is so vital to the end result.
Set Manageable but Challenging Goals
It’s easy to lose motivation when tackling a long-term project. The results just seem so far away. Break things down into smaller goals to give your team more ways to achieve. It’s easier to track the results and will keep them going when they can see the results. Still, you don’t want your team to get bored, so make sure they’re getting tasks that challenge them.
This is a crucial part of communication. When an employee does well, acknowledge it and let them know you’ve seen what a great job they’re doing. You should also let employees know when they can improve. Start by pointing out things they’re doing well, and then offer them suggestions for improvement. Ask if there is anything you can do to help them grow and improve.
Reward Your Team
If your team has done a great job, let them know! Reward them to thank them for their hard work. While you might not be able to give bonuses, there are lots of other ways to reward a team. A nice lunch, a gift card or an extra vacation day will all be appreciated.
There are also a few motivation killers that will absolutely destroy your team’s morale. Here are few things not to do as a leader.
If you just want to do a project yourself, don’t assign it to a team. When you micromanage, people feel like you don’t trust them enough to do the work themselves. Eventually they’ll just stop doing it.
There is a time, place and purpose for real, constructive criticism and feedback on how to do a job better. However, you need to approach it the right way. Criticism should be related to a specific action, not a judgment on the actual person. Never call an employee names or belittle them.