GETTING THE BEST FROM PEOPLE: MOTIVATING GROUPS
People behave differently in groups. Mob hysteria is one example. Its benevolent opposite is the spirit of togetherness that can animate groups of any size. Motivate staff by mobilizing support for their group aims and setting strategies for tackling objectives.
Leading a Team
Within any group, one person is usually singled out as the team leader. That may be you, but if you have several teams working for you, nominate a leader for each. Always be positive with the leaders. Meet regularly with them and the team, and keep motivation levels high by involving everyone in decision-making, praising them for their team’s good work, and pointing them in the right direction when things go astray. However, remember that if motivation is poor, it is the leader who is at fault. He or she should be aware of any problems within the group and should be the one responsible for keeping things in check.
Sometimes, if your system fails, say, the only solution may be to start afresh. It may not be necessary to get rid of a whole team, nor even any individuals. Indeed, these courses of action may demotivate further. The problem is usually that good people are trapped in a bad system, rather than vice versa. Listen to your staff’s problems. Once the initial period of complaint is over, and the genuine causes start to surface, they will point the right way to reform. The more the “brave new world” is their own, the better the individuals will feel about – and perform – under the new system.
A positive state of mind is crucial in reaching goals, so try to instill this in your team. The group that is motivated by a shared vision, and that has translated that vision into practical objectives will notice – and take – more opportunities \than one lacking that double focus. Join with others in shaping that vision and the plan. Then encourage and enthuse, so that the reality matches up to the dream.
It is important when setting goals not to stop short of the group’s capability, indeed you shouldn’t go slightly beyond. For example, a sports coach may set a goal for his or her team to reach the final of a tournament and encourage the players to believe in the aim. The danger is that once in the final the team will feel that the goal has been reached, whereas they should strive to win that game, too.
Points to Remember
- People in groups produce better ideas, since they can bounce ideas off each other.
- Asking staff members to contribute to planning heightens their levels of motivation and feelings of value.
- Staff criticisms should be taken seriously – do not automatically think of critics as trouble makers.
- Meetings, celebrations, and milestones can raise team spirits.
- Ambition dictates achievement, so be sure to encourage big ambitions.
- Confront trouble-makers as soon as you become aware of their presence.
- Cure any bad systems as a first step to conquering poor morale.
- If demotivation occurs, consider changing your business system.
If you find this article useful, please share and subscribe to our newsletter