Entrepreneurs and business leaders often find that motivating team members is one of the most challenging parts of the job. Leaders seldom lack self-motivation — it’s so second nature to them that they get frustrated when a team member doesn’t appear to have the same level of drive and ambition.
One of the most frequently asked questions I hear from business leaders is “How can I motivate my team?” Imagine their surprise when I tell them, “You can’t.” My responsibility as a coach is to help company leaders grasp the underlying reasons for their own motivation and ensure that those reasons are consistent with the goals and objectives of their business. In the same way, leaders need to stop looking for ways to motivate and instead find ways to inspire team members to seek out their own motivation.
Business leaders must understand that team members will not always share their outlook or passion. Instead of forcing your will on others, use these four approaches to inspire motivation in your team.
1. Lead by example.
Show your team members how it’s done, and dedicate yourself to showing your passion and motivation in everything you do. When your team members see your genuine excitement and enthusiasm, they’ll be much more likely to increase their energy levels and get on board.
2. Honesty is the best policy.
It’s vital that you be open and honest about the task at hand. You must get your team members to understand why the task is so important to you personally and to the company as a whole. Not every goal, task, or objective will foster the same amount of excitement and teamwork. If what you want is challenging or risky, let your team know. They’ll respect your transparency and be more likely to trust you and your leadership.
3. Find balance.
There are two surefire ways to destroy motivation among team members. The first is micromanaging, and the second is being so hands-off that your team doesn’t know what to do when problems arise. Give your team the freedom they need to feel empowered, but stay involved so that you can provide the necessary guidance when team members get discouraged.
4. Expect results and celebrate victories.
Before you give your team their marching orders, let them know you have confidence in their abilities. Take time to explain why a successful outcome is important to you and the business. They’ll be more likely to meet your expectations, not because they’re doing it for your sake, but because they’re working harder for the benefit of the team as a whole.
It’s crucial to celebrate wins with the team and to express your appreciation. An individual reward can be a great motivational tool, but it’s just as important that you celebrate as a team.
About the Author: Andy Bailey is the founder, CEO and lead business coach at Petra, an organization dedicated to helping business owners across the world achieve levels of success they never thought possible. With personal experience founding an Inc. 500 multimillion-dollar company that he then sold and exited, Bailey founded Petra to pass on the principles and practices he learned along the way. As his clients can attest, he can cut through organizational BS faster than a hot knife through butter.