Congratulations – you just hired a team of rock stars. Now what? Hiring is only half the battle. For an organization to be successful, employees need to be engaged. But how? As a leader, it is your job to set a precedent, inspire and motivate your team to their full potential. Over the years, I have learned about the various tools used by good managers to positively influence and motivate their employees. Try these practices to motivate your team and get them to achieve their best work.
Practice what you preach
Leading by example is the most effective way for managers to influence their employees. How you choose to handle a situation or solve a problem can significantly impact those around you. For example, if you are a stickler for timeliness but consistently arrive late to work, you open the door to similar behaviors from your employees.
As a leader, you must demonstrate the attributes you require in others. If you expect a strong work ethic, demand one of yourself. If you desire a positive attitude, handle challenges with a level head. Your behavior can directly impact your employees and will set the stage for how they perform.
Set clear, attainable goals
One of the most important aspects of being an influential manager is to set specific, measurable objectives. For your employees to succeed, they must understand what you expect of them, both in the short and long term. Creating a plan of action and issuing specific deadlines is also imperative in driving the process.
Consider breaking down more substantial, long-term goals into smaller, more manageable milestones, and celebrate successes along the way. If you set goals that are too lofty without a clear strategy, employees can become disengaged and demotivated. Use S.M.A.R.T criteria when setting objectives: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based.
Part of clear goal setting involves effective communication. Communication plays a vital role in any relationship, including the one between a manager and their employees. Consistent communication, whether in-person, over the phone or electronically, can help increase engagement among employees. Research shows that employees whose managers schedule regular meetings with them are three times more likely to be engaged than those who don’t. Keeping the lines of communication open also help managers understand what their team is working on. This makes it much easier to help individuals who need guidance along the way.
Get to know your employees
Great managers have the ability to motivate their employees while also building genuine relationships with them. Not every discussion needs to be a business transaction. It’s essential to get to know your employees on a personal level, too. Stephen Covey, the creator of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People training, encourages empathetic listening as a tool to better understand your employees and to create an environment of trust.
Employees who feel trusted and valued are more likely to be engaged and open to the influence of their managers. The best leaders understand that each person is different so it’s important to manage your employees based on their individual strengths and weaknesses.
Give your team autonomy
There is a big difference between effective management and micro-managing. No one likes a boss who is continuously examining everything they do. People value independence because they want to feel in control of their time and energy.
As a manager, granting autonomy demonstrates that you trust your team, which in turn will help create a stronger bond between yourself and your employees. Creating autonomy also helps foster self-sufficient teams. Setting measurable goals for your team allows your employees to create processes that work best for them. As a manager, you should learn how to work with and support these methods.
Make your staff feel appreciated
For your employees to feel inspired, they must feel valued and appreciated. When an employee hits a goal, puts in extra effort or goes above and beyond to hit a deadline, tell them that you’re grateful for them and be specific in your praise.
Calling an employee to tell them they did a great job and explaining how their hard work benefited the business can inspire them. While rewards can come via financial incentives, gifts or perks, allowing more responsibility and independence is also a great way to encourage your employees.
Influencing your employees doesn’t have to be hard on managers. Make sure that you are leading by example and creating a genuine, human connection with your colleagues. The more appreciated they feel, the easier it will be to motivate them to greatness.
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