10 Ways To Engage Your Team And (More Importantly) Keep Them Engaged!
“My Model For Business Is The Beatles. They Were Four Guys Who Kept Each Other’s Kind Of Negative Tendencies In Check. They Balanced Each Other And The Total Was Greater Than The Sum Of The Parts. That’s How I See Business: Great Things In Business Are Never Done By One Person, They’re Done By A Team Of People.” – Steve Jobs
Ask almost any manager “What is the most difficult thing about your job?” Many of them will answer employee engagement, motivation, team chemistry or something to the effect. This quote by the late Steve Jobs perfectly articulates how balancing teamwork and production can be a delicate process.
So, what are some ways to engage your team? Let’s discuss 10 things that you can do or say that will create some spark in your business.
Ask (Curiosity is key)
No quicker way to find out what works for each individual than to simply ask. Those with an introverted (thoughtful, solitary) side will probably not like the loud, “rah-rah” environment. People with an extraverted (energetic, outgoing) side will likely not respond to an email of congratulations. It’s about finding balance.
Accept and encourage ideas as part of your team culture. Nobody likes archaic, static environments, so seek to build a culture of innovation and creativity.
Give Feedback (Ask for feedback too)
Feedback is necessary, even it is less than ideal. Performance will always be the primary driver in business, so be willing to take someone (including you) outside of their comfort zone. Honest and frank feedback is key to employee, team and company growth. In turn, ask for feedback yourself!
Resist The “Golden Rule”
Treat people the way that they (not you) want to be treated. Remember (this is key) that each individual’s personality, communication style, and other work preferences are likely to be different. Understand each person on your team and engage them according to these preferences.
People should be given credit for a job well done. Even a simple “Thank you” or “I appreciate your effort” will go a long way in making your employees feel positive and motivated.
This means showing employees that you care about them personally, specifically about their life, goals, and any challenges that they are facing.
Gallup, the data-based news and research company, states that focusing on your employee’s strengths is likely to increase engagement. Focus on what each individual brings to the team and develop them accordingly.
Focus On New Team Members
Research indicates that employees are most engaged during their first six months. Use this knowledge to implement and execute a plan or initiative that will build on their morale.
Incorporate New Training
Use tools and learning programs to further your team’s knowledge and track progress. Leaders are learners and today our future generations want development!
Keep Employees Informed
There is perhaps nothing more frustrating than a new initiative, policy or program that employees are informed about at the last minute. As soon as feasible, let your team in on any developing trends that may impact them.
And become the employer the top talent wants to work for.
What really motivates your team? It’s not what you think it is
If we are motivated by rewards and incentives, why aren’t we more successful?
That’s a great question and it’s one which Dan Pink addressed in a TEDTalk a few years ago. The problem is that it’s still the same question that business leaders are asking right now. Nothing has changed.
Science has proven that incentives don’t work. What they actually do is block our creativity right when we need it most.
They found that rewards narrow our focus and concentrate the mind onto one specific task and that’s great if there is a defined solution, but it is useless when we need to think outside the box and come up with something new. Rewards restrict our thinking.
If you are trying to inspire and motivate your team with incentives and rewards, you could be doing more harm than good.
So how do you motivate a team to think creatively and develop new ideas – new solutions?
Dan Pink has suggested a new way and it has three key components to it.
1. Self-direction or autonomy
Those three components spring from internal motivation. There is nothing external about it – no reward other than personal joy and satisfaction.
Autonomy gives team members some control over what they do and how they do it, and we already know that this ‘choice’ makes them become involved and committed to the process.
Mastery gives people the opportunity to learn and develop new skills. We are driven by a desire to improve ourselves and to learn how to be better at what we do. We want to be the best at what we do.
Purpose is the part of ourselves which we sometimes don’t express. Each of your team members has a purpose which is important to them. It could be to help others or to make the world a better place. Often it is something which they can’t articulate but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there and it isn’t a driving force in their lives.
If you are still using the rewards system, often called the carrot and stick approach, it’s time to change. You will find that your team is capable of amazing results if you:
- Allow them to be involved in the planning of the work and how it is done;
- Create an environment which allows them to extend themselves safely through graduated challenges; and
- Focus on the “why” of what you do, rather than the “how” and the profits you make. Your work and your company make a difference in people’s lives, so focus on that.
Traditional reward systems have failed you so far. Perhaps it’s time you made some changes in the way you motivate your team.
So there you have it! 10 things to help you engage as well as motivate your team and lead them to the next level. Want to take your leadership further, well that’s where we come in! Get in touch with the LeadershipHQ team to discover how we can help you engage your team and kick goals in your workplace.