An issue we have been discussing recently with the delegates on our leadership development programmes is how they can help their team members to feel motivated, inspired and (re-) engaged, especially if they have been or are continuing to work remotely, and if they are employees returning to work after being furloughed.
Organisations are facing considerable challenges as a result of Covid-19 and the pressure is on to deliver on objectives to ensure that businesses survive. We know that in order to achieve the best results, we need a productive, motivated and engaged workface. However, after working flat out over the last six months covering for colleagues on furlough, energy levels may be waning. Equally team members returning from a lengthy furlough may be feeling unsure about returning to the workplace.
Gallup research shows that up to 70% of an employee’s motivation is influenced by his or her manager. Whilst individuals obviously bear responsibility for motivating themselves, how can we as leaders best create the right environment (potentially with a now largely remote workforce) in which our teams feel motivated and inspired to deliver their best work every day?
Here are our top 5 tips: -
1. Share your vision
Whilst the future may currently seem uncertain, share your vision of the version of the future that you intend to create with your team. Remind them of your company purpose – what does your organisation stand for? Highly motivated employees work with enthusiasm and commitment and they feel connected to their company, so by helping them to feel part of something you can inspire them to focus on delivering on company goals.
Whilst it might be tempting to put your head down and focus on the day-to-day operational challenges, it has never been more important to communicate with your teams. Over-communicate – in fact, communicate with them until their ears hurt! Check in with them, have regular 1-2-1 conversations with team members and build strong working relationships by bringing the team together. Share information and ask questions to check understanding and most importantly, listen to them. Answer their questions, approach their concerns with understanding and empathy and be open and honest with them.
3. Set expectations
Clear expectations from the outset are so important – how can people deliver if they do not know what is expected of them? Job roles may have changed drastically since lockdown so make sure that all team members know their (new) roles and responsibilities. Previously competent and confident team members may be taking on new and unfamiliar tasks, so consider how much direction and/or support they will need to achieve their objectives. Provide regular, specific feedback so that employees know how they are progressing, what they are doing well and where they could improve.
4. Recognise good performance
Remember to recognise good performance – a thank you can go a long way in making someone feel appreciated and valued. When times are stressful, it can be easy to feel too busy to acknowledge employee contributions, especially when the cynical amongst us may feel that they are “just doing their jobs”. However, study after study shows that specific, sincere and meaningful recognition has a positive impact on employee engagement, motivation and productivity. So, make sure that you do find time to say thank you, recognise individual contributions and celebrate team successes.
5. Lead by example
When it comes to creating an environment where people feel motivated and inspired, it is absolutely vital that leaders within the business walk the walk and set the example. Research shows that up to 70% of the culture of a business is influenced by the behaviour of leaders and managers within the business, which in turn has a direct impact on business performance. As bestselling author Steven Covey said, “What you do has far greater impact than what you say.” Make sure that leaders within the business demonstrate company values, approach their roles with enthusiasm, motivation and commitment and exhibit the behaviours that you want to encourage throughout the organisation.
The months ahead are likely to present further challenges, but by making a commitment to creating an environment where team members can feel motivated, engaged and inspired, your business will be in the best position to thrive in the years to come.
If you are interested in finding out more about how we help our delegates to improve their leadership skills in order to develop themselves, their teams and their organisations, get in touch with Jo Draper or Stewart Barnes here. Our November LEAD™ programme for senior leaders is now full, but applications are open for our next programme, starting April 2021, and our next LEADlight programme for future leaders will start in early 2021.