How to Manage, Motivate and Engage Your Team

Every team is comprised of various personalities, tastes, learning styles and opinions. For managers and leaders, it’s often a challenge to find a one-size fits all approach that will work for everyone. The truth is, a one-size fits all approach doesn’t work, especially when you are dealing with diverse backgrounds and multiple generations.

To manage, motivate and engage your team, consider these important factors:

Learn about your individual team member by finding out…

  • How they like to receive their information
  • What motivates them
  • What their values are
  • How they like to receive constructive feedback
  • What personalities they work best with
  • What are their strengths (and weaknesses)
  • What they are passionate about
  • What type of learner they are
  • Their cultural or generational differences
  • What their hot buttons are

When you understand the individual people on your team, you can begin to customize how you engage with these people. Some might need more hand-holding while others need you to “tell it to them straight.”  When you approach someone with a one-size fits all approach, you are likely missing the mark. One wrong word can demotivate your team member. However, if you take the time and energy to think about how they will react to what you are presenting, you’ll likely get more people on board, who are more actively engaged and self-motivated.

It’s not to say that you should cater to your team members. It’s simply a matter of managing using the knowledge that all people are different and when we treat everyone the same, it’s likely to leave some people feeling discouraged and demotivated. Don’t accidentally demotivate your team by not learning about them.

When you first hire, it’s a good idea to initiate a few standardized personality tests. This will help you understand what kind of person you have working on your team. It’s also a great idea to do this before you hire and to ensure the person fits in with your culture.

All these pieces and components play a role in keeping a healthy, productive team in tact.

Be creative and find ways to engage employees at their level. When you do this, you’ll build a loyal team and you’ll never go back to a one-size fits all approach.

5 Ways to Become a Better Leader

A leader can come in all different shapes, sizes, approaches and titles.

Leaders who can manage leading while still motivating and inspiring loyalty, are the leaders that people will follow from job to job. A recent study showed that 75% of people voluntarily leaving jobs don’t quit their jobs; they quit their bosses. (Roger Herman)

To me, that says leadership has a major impact on the engagement of employees and team members and their workplace satisfaction. With that knowledge, how can you then become a better leader?

Here are 5 ways to become a better leader.

1. Recognize your talent. All people need and want to be recognized for the contributions they make in the workplace. If you aren’t convinced that people need recognition, 69% of employees say they would work harder if they were better recognized. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to recognize people, but the mere act of recognition can and will carry a lot of weight with the people around you.

2. Get personal. Don’t be afraid to make a personal connection with individuals on your team. The more “human” leaders are to their team, the more likely their employees are to be engaged in the work they are doing.

3. Be a good listener. Your team is likely telling you exactly what they need, even if they aren’t speaking it out loud. Listen to what people are saying, and more importantly listen to what they are not saying. Being a good listener means you can read between the lines and pick up on the cues that your team is unsatisfied and in need of some additional support.

4.   Be visible and available, but don’t micro-manage. Being visible and available will let your team know you are there for them if they need you, but this doesn’t give you permission to micro-manage. People are distinctly de-motivated by micro-management. Allow people the room to learn, make mistakes, and ask questions without needing to know what they are doing moment-by-moment.

5.  Involve your people in decision making. Instead of demanding change throughout your team, instead involve them in the change making process. Individuals who are included in the cycle of change are much more likely to embrace the change than individuals who are told how to change without discussion.

These are just a few ways you can improve your leadership style.  To read more employee engagement statistics, take a look at this report.

What’s your favorite leadership style trait? We’d love to know.

What Drives Your Team?

Individuals are all uniquely driven. As a manager or team lead it’s imperative to understand what drives the people on your team.  Here are some of the top values your team members may be driven by, see if you can recognize your individual team players in some of the examples below.

Recognition – Recognition is the most common means of honoring someone’s value in the workplace; however, the majority of employees don’t feel recognized by their managers and team. Individuals who enjoy recognition will often post things that show someone has recognized them; i.e. a card on the wall, an award, etc. You may even find that individuals who need and enjoy recognition will also recognize others as well. Most people assume that everyone enjoys to be recognized for their accomplishments, but it isn’t always the case. Be sure not to assume that everyone on your team likes to be the center of attention and to get recognized in front of the group. For those who enjoy recognition, a simple acknowledgment of something they have done will go a long way and will significantly increase their performance and happiness on the job.

Equality/FairnessThe person who values fairness will always ensure that everyone on the team has equality. That could mean anything from equal time to share an idea, equal days off, working the same amount of time. It also could mean this person will count the favors you’ve done for others and will expect the favors to be equally shared. For example, you granted permission for a team member to leave early one day. To the person who values fairness, they’ve created a mental note that this will later be returned to them. If it isn’t, this person is likely to see this as a personal vindication.  For the fairness person, be sure they know they are as equally important as everyone else on the team.

Monetary/Gifts Money is a common motivator for many, but this goes beyond a pay increase or a scheduled bonus. A person who values gifts loves to be treated to lunch, receive  a gift on their birthday, or receive anything with perceived value. It isn’t so much the gift it intself, it’s more the thoughfulness that goes into it. This person loves the idea that you took the time and energy to do something for them. In the workplace, this may be one of the harder values to recognize; however, if you have this person on your team, they’ll be thrilled with a gift card to a restaurant, a local store, or some other favorite place to show that they are valued and an asset to your team.

Recognizing Talents and Strength in Your Team

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” Andrew Carnegie

Recognizing Talents and Strength in Your Team The individuals that work together on your team come from all different backgrounds, educations, and skillset.  They also comprise a variety of strengths and talents, some of which may go unnoticed in their positions.

In the book StrengthsFinder 2.0, author Tom Rath suggests a strengths model of leadership. Essentially, focusing on the strengths of your team and sharpening those, and ignoring the weaknesses. This goes against contradictory thinking that a person should identify their weaknesses and improve them. Rath suggests that when you take people’s natural strengths and abilities, they are more likely to succeed.

What are you doing to identify the strengths of the people on your team?

Begin to take notice where your team members are reaching beyond the expectations. If they get an assignment, are they exceptional in being strategic about how to implement it? Are they good at getting the rest of the team on board? Can they lift the moral of the team? What natural abilities do you see them using on a consistent basis?

To really optimize your team’s performance, it is essential to focus on their strengths that are natural, instead of their weaknesses.

When you know the strengths of your individual team members, you can then pair each individual with other team members who have a different strength’s style that complements their style. Additionally, you’ll want a team that is diverse in their strengths. The more varied your team, the more likely you are to have a fully functioning team that operates extremely well together and can achieve astounding results.

This also comes into play when you hire new team members. For your next hire, hire for talent and then develop that strength.  With all team members, make the shift of focusing on how to improve a person’s strength, and ignore their weaknesses.

When you focus on people’s individual strengths you allow members of your team to be more fully engaged in their work, and you will also get the best results possible.

To take the StengthsFinder 2.0 assessment, you’ll need to grab a copy of the book. You can find more information on that here. http://www.strengthsfinder.com If you take the test, we’d love to know your top five strengths.

How to Add Value to Your Employer

An employer-employee relationship thrives when it is the equivalent of a win-win dynamic.  Meaning both parties are benefiting, happy, and feel they are getting a good “deal.”

In larger companies, it’s not uncommon to find employees that take their employer for granted. You might also find leaders who dismiss the significance of their team members.  However, if you choose to utilize the small business mentality, where every person counts, makes a difference and a contribution to the bottom line, everyone wins.

When both employee and employer are seeking to add value to the company, you’ll find more satisfied employees, better customer service, more strategic and independent thinking, and in the end, more profit to everyone involved.

Think about how you can add value to your employer, whether you are an entry-level, mid-level employee, manager, or executive. All positions create value, and the more value we add to the company, the greater chance we have of increasing our worth. Bottom line, that means more promotions, more money earned, and increased job security.

Remember, companies need to profit to survive. They need people on their team who aren’t adopting a “What can I take from my company?” mentality.  Instead find new ways to give and add value for the overall benefit to everyone.

When people work together and utilize the win-win dynamic everyone thrives. Ask yourself what more can I do for my company? When you ask this question it takes the focus off of you and your own personal gains, and instead looks to how you can contribute to the company as a whole.

To add value, think critically and independently, share your ideas, look for ways to cut costs, increase sales, and improve overall customer/client satisfaction.