Ann M. Butera
Your team’s talent, delivery, and style create a unique advantage for you and your organization. Your team members are the face of your organization to constituents and customers. The perennial challenge is how to develop this talent and keep everyone motivated. Assuming everyone is adequately (or competitively) compensated for what they do, following are 10 ways to develop bench strength and motivate your team:
- Where practical, accommodate flexible and non-traditional work schedules and remote working arrangements. Recent events have shown that the ability to accommodate employees’ lives makes for happier customers, increased employee loyalty, and lower turnover.
- Be sure to answer team members’ “why” questions before they even ask them. Ask the other party if what you said makes sense; adjust where necessary. Think about the information you would need to know if you were in the questioner’s shoes. If you are a staff member, try to anticipate information your manager needs to provide to his or her boss and incorporate these facts.
- Use technology to stay in communication on each project and gain visibility to everyone’s work load. If working remotely, leverage technology as a replacement for an office or desk walk-by, an opportunity for impromptu conversations that inspire new ideas or approaches. Let team members know of your availability (adjusting weekly or daily as needed).
- Where you can, give authority. It will pay off in loyalty and make your team members better decision-makers and future managers in the end.
- If you are a department leader, provide the right individual coaching and training to each of your team members. Create a mentoring program for the most promising and talented people as a means of bolstering your institution’s succession plan. Make career counseling available to employees.
- Invest in your team members, so that they will in turn invest in their role and the organization. Develop people management competency as soon as an individual has to manage the work efforts of others. Department leaders should help the newly promoted manager acquire an appreciation and a desire to delegate, build bench-strength, and get work accomplished through others.
- Communicate to each team member specifically how their role adds value to the overall goals of the department and the organization. Ascribing to the adage of “what gets measured gets done”, make sure that the performance appraisal system aligns with the whole organization’s behavior and its core values. Additionally, make sure that the “game” rules (i.e., desired performance results) are clearly explained.
- Develop a reputation for reaching agreements without bloodshed while sticking up for and supporting your team members.
- Create lateral career paths for those who have valuable technical expertise and knowledge but do not want to become a team leader or department head. Many people enjoy project management but do not want the responsibility of managing the work efforts of others.
- Before you develop and implement an initiative to motivate, ask the other party what he or she wants. Otherwise, you risk spending time and money on initiatives that do not appeal to her or him.
An effective leader fosters an open environment where employees of all generations feel free to learn from each other while individually contributing to the organization’s results. Need some help? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a call. In the meantime, download the handout for reference.