16 Jul 2018, 10:06 — 6 min read
Summary: Team building and employee motivation is the foundation of a successful enterprise. Creating a positive working culture, and keeping people motivated is a constant endeavour. Shalini Sridhar shares her ideas on motivating a team.
Before I took a break when my daughter was born, I worked in the life sciences industry. Excited to begin working in my new company I joined a vibrant team and began to learn everything I could to do my job better. Months later I became the leader of that team. Wanting to do things differently now that I was heading the team and being responsible for projects and deadlines, I thought to myself - Can I do something different to keep this team motivated and engaged every day?
Here are some of the things I suggested and implemented.
Starting the week with a simple and thoughtful quote
A team manager at my previous job used to send out a good morning wish to his team members with a quote borrowed from the internet. Cheesy as it may sound, it was a simple and friendly way of reaching out to staff. It usually made us reflect on the moral of the quote or, smile because we related to it. Either way it was a fun way to forget our Monday morning blues.
Provide tools for a better working environment
People cannot do their work if they have not been given the right tools. An outdated computer, broken monitor or missing stationary can hinder a working day.
At my last workplace, our jobs involved talking to people over the phone. This meant cradling a phone on the shoulder while typing notes on the computer. After discussing with upper management, we managed to acquire cordless headsets that allowed freedom of movement and less neck sprains! If there is opportunity and the budget to acquire office supplies that can make working easier, go for it.
Monthly presentations by each team member
Each month, a team member would be nominated to present a topic to rest of the team. It could be something related to the current project or, something new. This led to a potential learning opportunity for others. Allowing each person, the freedom to choose and present, gave staff a sense of responsibility. It made them feel more connected to each other and gave recognition to their skills and strengths.
Constant encouragement to new members and old
Encouragement was always the key to our little family. Being close knit, (5 members) we learnt to support and cheer even the small successes. A simple mail to say “You are doing a great job!”, can bring a ray of sunshine onto a tough situation.
New recruits training was always one on one. A senior member or team leader would be assigned to train the new recruit. This helped build rapport and eased them to the job. Keep communications constant and open.
Rivalries exist, but don’t let them creep into your day!
There will always be that one team member who doesn’t see eye to eye with the rest of the team. Identify the issue, talk it out and arrive at a solution. Every member has something to add to the success of a project. If somebody has to be let go and if they are pulling the rest of the team down, then make a decision.
Meetings pushed to midweek
This may not work for every office or industry scenario, but for mine I felt that having meetings on a Wednesday afternoon rather than on Monday morning brought more enthusiastic responses. We used this opportunity to discuss what has been done so far and what needs to be done by the following week.
Celebrate individual and team performances
Individuals are innately born to be appreciated. To identify and acknowledge talents is a great way to inspire and encourage team members to continue doing better.
Just as everybody comes together in times of need, it is equally important to come together in times of celebrations. Set challenging goals and then acknowledge when they are met. Posting about a specific individual’s exemplary work to others or arranging an impromptu lunch for the entire team on a job well done, are all great motivating gestures.
In conclusion, there are several ways to motivate a team. They may not all work for every scenario as each office, company or industry have set specifications, rules and regulations in place. The size of the team also matters. Managing a team of five members is understandably different than managing a team of hundred.
Steve Jobs once said – “Great things in business are never done by one person. They are done by a team of people.”
So next time you lead a team, remember that success depends on the collective success of your team members.
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