No matter the size of your company, having a team of motivated, hard-working employees is crucial to your business’ success. It’s also a lot more fun. Keeping your employees engaged is a demanding task but thankfully, it doesn’t have to be painful.
Check out these eight leadership tactics that will ensure your employees are inspired to succeed and ready to go the extra mile for your business.
Lead By Example
Great leaders inspire and motivate their peers through their actions. Leaders should set an objective and work with every team to ensure the organization is achieving its goals. Team members need a path and a plan to know how their work fits into the bigger picture. Continue to work with your team to push the bounds, try things and learn what works best to guide them along. As the business leader, your emotional intelligence and actions have an important influence on your team, directly impacting your company culture. Ultimately, most people learn by experiencing a situation, especially millennials.
Communicate & Build Relationships
It’s important to build a relationship with your team members. Notice, I didn’t say employees here. Your team is your most valuable asset. It’s likely you’re communicating on a cadence that is not often enough. Communications don’t always have to be about work related topics and don’t have to be formal in nature. Chat with someone in the hallway, at the company event or just at their desk. Your team members are people with their own unique situations, and giving them this attention is important to understanding how you can adapt your style to their needs. Ask respectful questions and take a genuine interest in their lives outside of work. Who knows? You might just learn something interesting and worthwhile.
Being a leader often requires you to take ownership of the conversation, but it’s imperative that you also open the floor to get feedback from your teams. Listening builds trust and deepens your understanding of what’s going on. Collaborate with teams and ask for their ideas. Team members will be motivated by the fact that their insight influences your decision-making.
Practice and Encourage Possibility
As leaders, innovation lives at our core, guiding our vision to continually grow and evolve. As your vision evolves and the company grows, roadblocks are bound to arise. Remember, great leaders inspire and motivate their peers through their actions. When you’re excited about the possibility of something new, sharing it with your teams will get them inspired too. When things break and roadblocks arise, address issues with positivity to provide an alternative approach—think, “What if we tried this instead?” This approach gives your team members the curiosity and headspace needed to effectively find and fix the issue.
Giving your team a glimpse into future possibilities and what they can do to help achieve them will have a ripple effect throughout your organization. Team members will be more motivated to produce quality work, teams will work in greater alignment and the business will collectively move forward together.
Challenge Your Teams
Employees must be challenged to grow both personally and professionally. Highly effective leaders help employees reach their full potential by acknowledging what they are capable of and pushing them to go the extra mile. You are a coach, not a dictator. Challenging an individual to overcome a mental barrier is one of the best parts of the job. One of the key goals is to keep your organization fluid so that there is a path forward for everyone. Humans need goals and something to work for. Make sure you are utilizing your entire team to help overcome challenging aspects of your business. When work is easy, repetitive and straightforward, humans get bored and unsatisfied.
Competition Awakens The Spirit
Humans have been competing since the beginning of time. I find that naturally the best way to get the best out of people and have fun at the same time is to inspire healthy competition. Make everything a game. Photo challenges, trash can basketball, fantasy football, best idea, most ideas, naming something that’s impactful…the list goes on. When you involve your team in things where they can express themselves and then win for doing it, you’ll create an amazingly creative and collaborative atmosphere. Incentives are a great way to encourage your employees to overcome challenges and reach important goals, but so is good ol’ fashioned competition and championship status. Winning is a primal instinct and it’s very effective to motivate your team.
Celebrating wins is so, so important. It gives team members a sense of pride and accomplishment, showcases teamwork and velocity and unifies the company in a really special way. At ScaleFactor, we celebrate our wins every week. Whether it is a compliment from a customer or new product launch, our wins reinforce why we’re here and encourage our teams to keep moving. Giving your team a platform to share positive feedback and recognize their accomplishments is a huge motivator.
Consider the difference between leaders and managers. Highly effective leaders are not micro-managers. In fact, great leaders don’t need to manage at all. They understand that employees thrive when they are empowered to do their job without constant guidance and control. The key is to build a work environment where people seek accountability for their mistakes and take pride in their work. Do not punish employees when they are wrong. Instead, help them learn from the mistake and move forward with their new knowledge. To make this a reality, clearly articulate expectations and create a culture of ownership.
At the end of the day, your team is your most valuable asset. As a leader, your team should always be among your top priorities. Lead by example to set the bar for success in your company, take a genuine interest in your team members and understand their personal and professional goals. Don’t waste your energy micromanaging your team—lead and guide them to grow, learn and succeed!
Kurt Rathmann, CPA
CEO & Founder, ScaleFactor