Motivating Your Team

A manager once told me that his job was neither to inspire nor motivate. He stated that if his team could not motivate themselves, they had the problem, not him.
It therefore begs the question as to whether the role of a manager should be to motivate and inspire, or to simply manage everyday operational affairs. Some may surmise that there is a difference between management and leadership; and that perhaps the gentleman above is a manager but not a leader.
This is my theory: if one is appointed a manager and there is a team of people to manage, the skills that should be required are those of a leader. One is intertwined with the other. If I am a manager of books or files, that is another matter. However, once human beings are involved, there is a level of emotional intelligence that is required. So, how do you help motivate your team?
Leading from the front is one sure way to ensure that you set an example. Make no mistake: your team members are observing how you handle stress, disappointment and success. They would usually feed off your energy. Keep checking the signals you may give off.
Offering praise. There are certain personalities who thrive on praise. They enjoy a pat on the shoulder and public acknowledgement. Give it to them, once they deserve it. It will make a world of difference.
Walk through your offices. Never let the “ivory-tower” syndrome get the worse of you. It is easy to walk straight into one’s office and not leave until closing time, without checking on your people. Based on the sheer volume of work, you may have to schedule time for this. Once a week is good: walk around and inquire how things are. Be genuine and thoughtful in your questions. When your people know you care, they naturally respond better. Eat lunch in the lunch room if you can!
Be accessible. No one is saying to let persons manipulate your time, but if a member of staff needs to meet with you, try your best to hear their concerns. After all, they look to you for leadership and support. It is almost like a parent-child relationship. If a child feels neglected, what does it do? Some rebel, some go into their shell, some try to run away...get it? People may actually leave your company if they feel they do not have a voice. Always ensure that your people have a voice.
Team-building activities. Whether it’s a field trip, a seminar for your team or a special lunch, getting teams together is a very purposeful way of motivating them. In these times, some of the brightest ideas come forth. You also get to observe how they interact with one another, while having fun! And you know what they say? Teams that play together usually stay together! Keep the energy flowing and the inspiration growing!