Dr. Colleen Batchelder

5 Ways to Motivate Your Employees: How to Bring Out the Best from Your Team

laughing male constructor showing thumb up at working desk

Being a manager is like being a superhero –you don your cape and tights and pray that when you fall on the shoulders of your team, you can fly. And sometimes, you brace for the fall––the flat on your face fall.

You do everything you can to motivate your team, but it isn’t easy to be their biggest cheerleader when you feel like you are standing in front of a crowd, alone and exhausted.

It’s not always easy to motivate your employees. Heck, trying to find motivation within yourself can be a challenge at times. But, with some tips and techniques under your belt, you’ll find the strength to do what it takes to be a successful leader and spur your team on towards success!

Here are five tips for motivating employees:

Look for signs.

No. I’m not asking you to figure out if your employees are more Sagittarius than Aries. I’m asking you to look past the surface and watch for signs of a struggling team member.

Maybe someone has suddenly taken a vow of silence or become the biggest talker in the group. You’ll always have a mix of introverts, extroverts, and ambiverts on your team, but they usually don’t switch personalities every hour.

Before you can motivate your team, you might need to backtrack a bit and get to know them. When you look for signs, you’re more likely to discover the root of their problem and find ways to help them before they become unmotivated.

Related: The Best Guide for Managers of Hybrid Workers

Motivate, don’t micromanage.

You’ve all heard this one before: “Lead by example!” But what does it mean? How do you lead your team by showing them what needs to be done?

It’s all about taking small steps to motivate your team. Your employees will look at you for guidance, so give it to them! Don’t just tell someone what they need to do; show them how they can accomplish their task by doing a little of the work yourself.

Remember, your employees work for the company––just like you. They had to apply for the job, show their expertise, and be hired. That took work.

So, when you’re going over an assignment with a team member or giving them feedback on their work––don’t just tell them what they need to change. Show the changes that should be made and let your employee take it from there!

Besides, who doesn’t like the opportunity to show off their skills? Your team will be more motivated to work at their absolute best if they get the chance to prove themselves.

Related: This Leadership Advice Isn’t Fancy. But It Will Get You the Greatest ROI.

Give employees room to grow.

So, what do you do when your team member isn’t the superstar that they should be? You offer them more opportunities to improve their skills. And not just in the form of a raise or promotion.

Give them room to grow professionally by taking small steps in their development like offering more challenging projects or cross-training so they can learn new skills that will increase their value within the company––and increase their confidence.

Offer new projects and tasks for your team members to explore on their own. Let them take the reigns and show you what they’re made of. If they’re underperforming, give them time to hone their skills before you pass the final judgment.

Some people just need a little time and space to surprise you––and if you’re willing to give them a chance to gain new skills, you might just get a whole new superstar on your team.

Related: 3 Ways to be a Kick A** Leader Who Lives A Balanced Life

Reinforce the good.

Negative reinforcement doesn’t work in your favor when it comes to motivating employees, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from using positive reinforcement every chance you get!

Praise and recognition go a long way toward getting the best out of people. Let your employees know when they’ve done a great job and make sure to give them praise in front of their peers.

If you’re looking for something more personal, try giving specific feedback on how their work has helped the company or given others an opportunity to succeed. These individualized messages will let each employee know that there’s someone out there who is looking out for them––and will keep your team motivated.

Put employees first, always.

We’ve all heard the phrase “the customer is king,” but what about putting your employees first? If they aren’t happy with their work or feel valued within the company, it’s going to be hard for them to provide quality service and care about the work they do.

Think of your employees as assets––not just because it’s kind of a cool concept, but also because they are! They are the ones who make your company run.

So, show them how much you appreciate their efforts by giving them verbal praise, personalized feedback, and more opportunities to grow.

Motivating your employees will make a huge difference in the quality of work they produce––and will keep them happy and engaged with their jobs. If you take the time to invest in your team and show them how much you care, it will pay off tenfold!

As a Leadership Strategist, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant, Executive Coach, and National Speaker, I help leaders create companies where Millennials and Generation Z want to work. My doctoral background in leadership and global perspectives also gives me an added edge because I approach generational dissonance from all directions, including from an anthropological, theological, sociological, and ethnographic lens.
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