It’s what every boss wants: a team that works hard and delivers top-notch results on every project. In reality though, it can be difficult to bring everyone on board. Without doing anything, your team will drift and flounder under your lack of leadership, but it’s easy to create an environment where your staff look forward to coming to work every day. Once you get it started, you’re on the path to success, and you can learn about it in detail right here in this course.
It’s almost impossible to achieve great things alone. Richard Branson and Steve Jobs all relied on fantastic teams to the credit of their success. But what it really came down to was mastering their influence over the people they had working for them, which you can learn how to do here. The easiest way to influence your staff is to motivate them for success, which you can do by following these easy steps.
You will spend almost a third of your life in your office. As the boss, you’ve probably been able to set it up exactly how you like it, and you enjoy coming to work every day. But your staff get little choice at all, so you also need to take into account what they need to create a motivating environment.
Make use of your space, but don’t jam your staff in with too many desks. They need space to walk around and breathe, so don’t fit them in like sardines in a can. The easier it is for them to stretch their legs or even lean back without smacking into someone else’s desk the more they’re going to enjoy being in the office. Build on the relaxed atmosphere by setting up a couple of additional workstations on couches, in more relaxed areas of the office. Don’t make your staff feel like they must be confined to their desk for a solid 8 hours, your focus should actually be on the quality of the work they are producing.
Keep the temperature in line. You won’t have happy staff if they are melting from the heat, or so cold their fingers are shaking and they can no longer type with any degree of accuracy. Moderation is key, so keep the climate comfortable.
Lighting can also have a huge impact on mood, so trade in the old fluorescent lights for some lower wattage bulbs and it’ll be much easier on everyone’s eyes. If your staff are straining to see their work, they’ll get tired faster, and need more breaks during the day. Good quality lights are fantastic to manage fatigue. Natural light is also excellent, and can lift happiness as well as a person’s mood when sunlight is streaming into an office. Position as many desks as you can by the windows to make the most of this natural resource.
The walls of your office are one of the largest spaces, and they can be utilized to help motivate and create a productive atmosphere for your staff. A bulletin board is great if you can keep it updated with birthday cards, pictures, and relevant memo’s to the team – as well as some jokes, emails or pictures that are just lighthearted fun. You can also use it to promote the achievements of particular staff, in a much less formal way than the traditional “employee of the month,” but still where everyone can see their praise. Motivational signs and slogans can work, but choose carefully because you don’t want to overdo it. Sometimes less is more, and steer clear of all the clichés. You’ll have better results by hanging a few select pieces of photography or artwork that are easy on the eyes and give a pleasant impression.
One of the most utilized ways to keep staff happy about coming into the office is by giving away food. Many companies use it to great effect by simply stocking a kitchen with tea and coffee, which keeps employees in the building when they are looking for a recharge, instead of heading out in search of coffee. Bringing in breakfast like a “Bagel Friday” can be a reward for a hard week, or make it regular and encourage staff to come in on time and enjoy a free breakfast. The same goes when you are busy, ordering pizza for lunch or when teams are working late is a great way to keep staff happy while they need to knuckle down and get work done. You should always celebrate employee birthdays with a cake, and create a festive atmosphere around the holidays with Christmas snacks in December, or Easter eggs in April.
A benefit loved by many staff is the dress-down days, or “Casual Fridays.” Being able to wear comfortable attire to the office is a relief for people who are not comfortable in a suit and tie, or formal business attire and something to look forward to. You could host this every week, or tie it in with major events like the Super Bowl and let everyone show off their favorite teams colors.
Building up a culture of appreciation is key to getting more from your staff. You need to recognize and reward employees individually when they have done something great. It takes a quick handshake and less than 30 seconds to thank them for a job well done, or if a particular team member has gone above and beyond, speak out your praise in front of everyone and let them know their efforts are appreciated. Be careful here in making this a regular thing, doing it too often can reduce the impact, as well as if you always single out the same few employees. If your “other” staff feel like there are only one or two people you actually praise in front of the group this can be very de-motivating.
When you’re running a team you should also praise your employees as a group. Don’t ever forget the importance of taking the team aside and telling them they are doing a job well. Your employees want to feel that they are part of a special group of people, and are not just cogs in a machine. This could be as simple as relaying feedback from top management that they were not privy to, or showing the facts and figures that prove how well your team is doing in the company. If you give weekly updates on email or in a meeting focus on using positive adjectives, and maintain a balance. Of course there will always be room for improvement but if you can maintain a positive comment for every piece of constructive feedback, you will have the best results. Being upfront about employees with what needs to be done is crucial to get them on the same page, but if you can praise and encourage them just a little bit more than your criticism they’ll be a much more productive team.
When staff have done a great job you need to do more than just pat them on the back. If that’s all you’re ever doing eventually the best performers aren’t going to be appreciative. Many companies have created bonus systems that are tied to salary, but it could be as simple as a prize for the sales rep who closes the most leads in a given month. By creating a competition you have a very good chance of tapping into the competitive nature of your team, and get them working harder – so long as they all believe it’s equally possible to win. You should also check with your staff in advance to make sure your planned prize is seen as worth it, otherwise they won’t actually work any harder. This could be a pass to a movie, hard to find tickets to a game, or even the chance to have a sit down lunch and a one-on-one with you. What’s great is that it doesn’t always need to be monetary prize, rewards could be as simple as an extra hour for a lunch break, or the ability to leave a half hour earlier than their colleagues. You could offer to do their work for them, as nothing is as exciting for staff than seeing their boss in their own shoes, making a handful of sales calls for them. If you’re a little apprehensive you can brush up your sales skills in this course and impress the whole team when you pick up the phone.
The final piece of the puzzle is getting to know your staff. If you can interact with your team on a personal level, as well as being their boss they’re going to feel more loyal to you, and work harder the more they like you!
Start with something simple like taking a weekly coffee run with a different member of your team, and give them 20 minutes of your time one on one to talk about whatever they like. You’ve removed the barriers by moving to a location that’s not your office (which is good for building relationships), and try to talk about more than just work. Soon staff will be telling you about their personal lives, which you can use to form strong bonds with your staff. Make the effort to learn about their families, what they enjoy to do on their down time, and where they’re planning their next vacation to and you’ll have much more to talk about. Caring about your staff as people is key in getting them to give you their 100%. If you struggle a little in your communication style, you can read up on the benefits of being an effective communicator in this recent post.
Building on this theme that you can form stronger bonds outside of the office, social events are a fantastic way for people to interact – especially when there are different teams. People get much more excited about coming to work when they are friends with their colleagues, and it also makes for a more effective workforce. Happy hour drinks on a Friday are the default social event, but you could also form a sports team, or take the entire company out for lunch once a month. Getting the relaxed and social atmosphere is key to having your team bond, but is much harder to manage if your team is virtual. You can apply similar techniques to motivate an online workforce, and learn all of the tricks to getting them as effective as possible in this course.
Motivating your staff is easy, it just requires the boss putting a little bit of thought and effort into this area specifically. There really is no excuse for a leader to complain about an underperforming team, it’s the leader who has set the example. Take our advice and see how you can transform the people you have working for you into evangelists, that drive your business to even greater success.